Category: Local Wildlife

Hedwig in Haines?

By , December 18, 2017

Our local bird watching community, to which we claim membership, has joined many others along the U.S./Canadian border in watching for the latest snowy owl “irruption.”

An irruption, or unpredictable migration, occurs when snowy owl populations increase, encouraging individuals to expand south from their normal arctic zone territories. It seems the last one occurred in 2013-2014, and a new one is currently underway, apparently.

Snowy Owl Photo posted on Flckr by tuchodi

An awesome photo of a snowy owl near Ft. St. John, British Columbia, Canada (an awesome place on one of the feeders to the Alaska Highway, by the way!). (Photo: tuchodi on Flckr.)

Surrounded as we are by Canada on three sides, we have a very good chance of seeing Canadian snowy owl sightings in our area. In fact, a neighbor who lives over on Mud Bay reports seeing one near their place recently. We have other sightings in the area as well.

If you’re not familiar with snowy owls, think of Harry Potter’s Hedwig from the movies. I simply couldn’t resist the alliteration in the title.

But, imagine seeing one of those beautiful birds in the wild! Imagine seeing one in your own neighborhood, or on your own property!

So, as we hike out of and in to our homestead, we’re keeping a close eye out for this rare, astonishingly beautiful visitor. I may even go so far as trying the birder’s trick of broadcasting recorded snowy owl hoots on my iPod as we go. With any luck, we may see one—perhaps even Hedwig herself—who’s to say no?

Here’s a good article on the subject, although, I must warn you—it’s “ferrin,” being from Canada!

“Wait Till ‘Marten’ Comes!”

By , November 27, 2017

Friday night, I thought for a moment that I was living a bad old ‘ghost’ story from childhood . . . .

An old American folk tale uses repetition (not to say tedium, but there it is . . .) to build suspense. A person seeking shelter in an abandoned building watches a parade of animals (cats in some versions) enter and stare at the interloper. Each successive animal is larger than the others, and asks if it’s time to bite or otherwise harm the person. Each time, the answer is “No, waaaaaait till Martin comes.” I don’t think I’m spoiling the surprise by relating that the person eventually gets up and leaves, saying something like, “When Martin comes, you tell him I’ve gone away again.”

After our initial snows, we had days when little more accumulated. During that time, our compound and trails became crisscrossed by animal tracks—mostly deer and a far-ranging marten (or seven?).

marten trackways

Around, around the cherry bush, the monkey is the weasel! Marten tracks under 6+ inches of new snow (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Continue reading '“Wait Till ‘Marten’ Comes!”'»

Panorama Theme by Themocracy