Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Little" ducky, I'd like a whole pond of...

Ernie didn't have a goshawk in his bathtub, but am sure this bird of prey would sing this song if he could! Mum has had these hawks visit last year and this year is no exception. The ducks, although segregated, hang together when the webbed feet hit the muck. Here they are squawking about the hawk holding one of their own. 
 Here the young teen mallard is pinned under talon and beak-but the goshawk hadn't gone for the kill.
 The young bird tried to get away and I wasn't fortunate enough to capture seeing the raptor IN the water, riding the waterfowl as it tried to get away. It was lucky this day and the hawk flew off hungry.
 However, the goshawk isn't stupid. He knows exactly where the teens go for fun and waits til they pass by to grab them. Today, the birds were quacking away and I photographed the large granite colored bird just sitting. I took two photos before I realised something.

 The goshawk was sitting ON the duck in the water. He may have known where a duck dinner might be, but he wasn't too smart about keeping on task. Am not sure what startled him (maybe it was me), but he took off and the duck swam away.
 Later in the evening, the hawk came back, but the ducks retreated to the lily pads. I saw the bird flying in the trees and heard squirrels chattering. I also heard the squirrel stop chattering and the ducks settled down. So, either the bird flew off duckless again, or he captured himself a rodent.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Days, Drifting Away

Loving the colors running rampant across the Kenai! 
 Those fields of fireweed are glowing everywhere! Spires of purply pink reach for the sky on stalks as tall or taller than I am.
 Berries are bursting into existence and the birds are harvesting them like crazy.
 Still life shots are seen out of the corner of your eye, just waiting to be frozen in a time before winter.
 LOVE finding an unexpected find. A quirky heart rock for my friend, Linda. I'll get it to her soon~
 Even the non organic things shimmer in the July sunshine.
 Miss Bee has her pollen packs loaded and is working hard to share the wealth with the flowers she visits. She was so busy, she made quick repeat visits on different daisies before finding on to finally settle on.
 These little guys were blowing in the breeze. They are watermelon berries in various stages of maturity. The red ones are 'done' and able to be picked and eaten! We did this all the time as kids.
But, those days are drifting away..many of the fireweed flowers are on the last flowers on their stalk. The long thin parts are seed heads. Am glad this is only on the smaller flowers. The larger ones are about three quarters into their bloom time. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Night on the Lake

Yup, it was so nice and warm out, I was barefoot in the kayak again. I love nights (and days) when the temps are in the high 60's and the sun is shining bright! 
 The  sky tonight was a vibrant blue. The different greens seemed to enhance it.
 Birds are all over the place! We still have some babies out there, I think this from a newer batch of golden eyes (probably cuz the mom lost most of her first bunch!).
 This yellow legged bird could be one of three types of shorebirds. Mid season birds are sometimes hard to identify. Immature birds and non breeding ones sometimes look like other birds. Very frustrating! Mom thinks it might be a greater yellowlegs. But, it might not be.
 Here are the babies again. They had hopped onto the shore to preen in the sunshine. Such cute little fluff balls! I wondered where their mom was, but then I remembered how she often wanders off. The babies were spread all over the area. I had been drifting around reading and taking photos for such a long time (this was about quarter to 9 pm), they didn't seem to be as afraid of me.
 More barefoot photos-I had one where the ducks are not too far from the kayak, but I liked how this one has the blue sky reflected in the water. It was so still and nice out! The other one, with the babies in it, had ripples and the ripples make it hard to see the ducklings. There weren't that many skeeters out either, which was also a bonus. GIANT dragonflies were buzzing over the lake, though. You can tell summer is waning, the colors are changing and the dragonflies are bigger (the little ones have all passed on).
 Just after 9 and I was intrigued by all the things you can see in the shadows. The tiny white speck is a loon on the lake, the teensy bugs almost glitter, and the trees appear almost mystical. The loon was why the babies were at the far end on the shore. The loon doesn't visit often, but when it does, the ducks get stressed out. It doesn't bother the larger ducks (and we have several families of those), but for some reason it does not like baby ducks of any kind.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Since mum's  church gets out around 12:30, we often have snacks afterwards. Well, this Sunday, we had salmon! It was sooo goood! After church, we went to a different bluff spot to see what we could see. Erik's Park is always so crowded!
 It was a very low tide and the boats were waiting until they were able to go out later.
 We could see the mouth of the Kenai from where we were standing (behind the medical building on Marine Drive) and the river wasn't as crowded as it was on Saturday. (we were told this by people who had also been observing).

 So, you have the right bank, the left bank, and the two together with the mountains in between. It was an absolutely amazing gorgeous day!

I cannot put this comment above this photo of the bluff erosion, so I will add it here. PIFFLE. The bluff along the inlet has been eroding for a very long time. It is almost startling when you see it, you don't often expect a scene like this, even when you know it is happening. On the other side, however, there is a path to the beach. 
The young man who had caught our 'snack' fish for lunch had taken  his tennie runners and fishing pole and climbed down the bluff to see if he could catch some more. 
He hadn't had his hook in the water for more than 5 minutes before he had one ready to land. It made me smile, all those folk down below with nets and this guy is leisurely catching dinner, one fish at a time.
 Janet went out on Monday with a couple of friends and they caught 9--and one Dolly that needed tossed back. Mom remembers when they used to catch Dolly Varden years ago during this time of year, she and her friend,  Nikki, would cook it on the beach campfire while they were dealing with nets and fish. Fun memories.

NOTE: am sorry for the odd formatting on this post. I do not get what happened.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Choosing Pictures to share!

When you send to your kids to the store in North Kenai, they go in style! 

It was an absolutely stunning day on Saturday, July 11. The beach was so warm people were even able to sprawl out on the rocks! Fisher folk were checking their nets and, although there weren't many fish, we did get to see them bring in a few.

 Before the game we stopped at a store and this plow truck from Girdwood was down for the fishing. The owner said I could snap the sticker on his truck. We then discussed the height of fireweed and how much snow might be expected this winter.
 Baseball was great fun, even if the Oilers did lose. It wasn't by much! One the sun went down over the bleachers, it got COLD!
 Stopping at the river during red season again. You can see not much is going on yet. It was Sunday, but the crowds were still pretty sparse. I'll continue to update as we are in town.
 We had some awesome thunderstorms on the 13th. Our area needs the rain desperately and it brought out vivid colors. Everything was sparkling with life.
 In this photo below, I am standing on the 'old pipeline' road. The one my daddy got stuck on in his Ford pick up one spring and the one we'd ride our bikes on in the summer. I am looking up at our 'old' driveway. The new road is where the yellow newspaper box is. So, when the new road was put in, our driveway got a bit shorter!
 More sparkling fireweed!
I like this photo below. It shows the definite march of summer. When I arrived at the end of May, the lupine were in bud. In the picture, those same lupine are now done. Their seed pods are split open and empty. The fireweed is in mid season, with only a few more blooms left to go. A bit startling, when  you stop to think about it! 
Today I took a lot of bird photos. It is Tuesday. This little immature junco is so innocent, he actually jumped onto my hand before he flew off! He is lucky I wasn't a cat.
 The squirrels are not so tame. However, this guy did run past me twice. Once he stopped about 4 inches from my foot before hurrying on to where ever he was headed.
 The birds are going crazy trying to stuff themselves! I took photos of red poll, white crowned sparrows (there is one in this photo), camp robbers, nut hatches, chickadees, and I did have a brief glimpse of a woodpecker on one of mom's birch trees in the yard. They love suet, but by the time the jays and the nuthatches and little birds are done, there is very little left for them. I am pretty sure what I'm going to send mom for Christmas! I'm going to make suet cakes!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

And it Begins. (the first day)

Dipnetting on the Kenai has started. The 3 weeks that most of Kenai gazes at the funny people out in the water gathering fish like fools. Yes, some of these folks are legitimate fishermen, adding to their larders for the next year. Others are just there for the thrill. Even more are coming in as illegals. People NOT from Alaska who think to add to their repertoire of Alaskan fun. There are a large portion from the Anchorage area. Which is a huge sore spot with those of us from the Kenai. We love our beaches and for 4 weeks they are a MESS!  I'll add to this topic as the season goes on. And I hope some of my Kenai friends will comment on this, the blog, instead of just on the FB link! 


The flowers are rushing to bloom! The lupine of a few weeks back already have seed pods ready to burst, the daisies here look great, but many are dying back, and the fireweed is reaching for the sky in pink spires. (note: the yellow is an arnica.) 
 Here, in front of my bedroom window, are two fireweed plants. We'll hope the snow is as high as the tallest one and not that itty bitty guy! (height of fireweed is supposed to tell us how much snow the next winter has)
This fireweed below is almost as tall as I am. I'm 5'2" and the tallest spire is almost to the top of my head! That would be a LOT of snow~

 Mum has a rose bush from Aunt Sally's yard. (some of you reading may remember Aunt Sally) Mum says it is a Sitka Rose. Whatever it was, the bees were falling all over themselves to harvest from it!
 The birds were also in a rush today. There were all kinds of winged creatures out. Babies learning to go solo and grown ones grooming themselves in the warm sunshine.
 Every breeze blew a drift of yellow leaves down from the trees. It was a tad disconcerting to know fall is so near.
 Here is my bathing chickadee! The little guy looks dead, but  he is very much alive. I am sharing several photos so you can see how alive this little one is. From where he landed on the picnic table to spread his wings to when he flew into a tree to finish preening.

Once he was finished, he flew off all clean and fluffy. It was fun to watch!