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Your Alaska report brings back memories of my last visit to Alaska back in 1990.  The trip was to see bears and moose, but it was the first trip I took with my just purchased birding field guide.  The first bird I stopped to try to identify was at the edge of a pond between Glen Allen and Valdez.  I spent twenty minutes studying the bird and could not figure it out as being totally new to birding, I had no idea of the order of the guide.  The bird literally walked right up to the car door.  From then on, I tried to video tape the birds I saw so I could study the tapes.  The problem was that most of the birds were not clear enough on the tape to be positivity identified.  The bird in question at the lake turned out to be a female pintail.   The few highlights I could ID at the time or others called out were:

Three-Toed Woodpecker at Denali
Spruce Grouse near Seward
Possible Stellars Sea-Eagle on boat to Kenai Fjords National Park.  Called out by the Caption.
Parakeet Auklet at Seward
Tape of Red-Neck Phalarope in breeding plumage.

All total 46 species identified at the time or later in pictures or video tape.  Not bad considering at the time I had never opened a field guide prior to the trip.  I have a plan for my next trip which will focus on birds, just need the money to pay for it.

[log in to unmask] wrote:
The 4 Alaska cruise Mobirders who headed north for Denali have returned.

Briefly, the sunny weather of the cruise continued and the days became 20
hours long with 4 hours of dusk. We bused 67 miles into Denali NP and Preserve
to Eielson VC, visited the sled-dog kennels, took short walks in the park,
birded local sites in the Healy area, and walked the Eagle River Nature Center
loop trail.

Notable avian and mammal sightings in the park included:
Mew Gull chicks on sandbar
Recently fledged Gryfalcon near the nest
Willow Ptarmigan with chicks
Rock Ptarmigan pair
Grizzly sow with triplet cubs
Dall Sheep - males on ridgetop, females and young in several places
Caribou - many sightings - cows with calves, males alone
Moose - many sightings cows with calves, no males sighted
Marmot
Red/Black Fox hybrid
Gray Wolf - what a treat this was!

Outside the park included Horned Grebe family, with chicks on back of parent
Spruce Grouse at the roadside
Trumpeter Swans with cygnets
Multiple Barrow's Goldeneye

On the day we began our drive back to Anchorage we again had that stunning
view of Mt.McKinley Edge spoke of - only this time the calendar/postcard view
was from 35 miles away - full sun, bright blue sky, not a cloud in sight. The
Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley are breathtaking. No photo can do justice. Yet,
Julie and I shot a lot of film every few miles!!

As we took off from Anchorage our view out the plane window was the Alaska
Range, including Mt. McKinley, in the pink/red sunset. What a way to leave
Alaska!! Our "red-eye" flight from Anchorage to St. Louis gives new meaning to the
description "tired puppies!"

Joyce Bathke
Columbia, MO





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