Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 29, 2015

Dandelions say "Spring" just as well as any of the other flowers.

The water is running at the Copper Whale Inn, corner of 5th and L street, and the bicycle rental place is open -- although not doing a lot of business yet.

The dogs are keeping a watchful eye on us, but only the corgi thought it necessary to bark.

Now there are masses of green like this, rather than just an isolated branch or two here and there.

Flamingos basking in the spring air -- it was a little cool and windy, with a few drops of rain, but we repeat daily -- "there's no snow."

This person is ready to garden.

Don't know who she is, but so well-dressed that she must be Victorian rather than Renaissance.


Is the ship a dredge? No matter, the view is spectacular.

The Chugach at sunset, from Point Woronzof.

Sunset at Point Woronzof -- actually, an hour or so before the is really down.

Not sure of the name for these.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015 -- Morning moose

Morning moose in a neighbor's yard. It  had been eating her Bergenia by the front steps, when she tapped on the window and let it know that it wasn't welcome. We think this is a yearling; booted out by mom who is probably pregnant and about to deliver this year's calf.

More signs of spring -- road work. For some reason, they have decided to tear up all of the curb insets for disabled people and cyclists that were installed a year or two ago, and re-do them. Corners all over downtown are surrounded with orange netting and safety cones while the work proceeds.

Concrete trucks, to assist in all of the construction going on.

Another sign of spring -- the evergreens shedding their cones.

In our neighborhood, the sidewalks often extend past only a couple of houses, but they are still useful as chalkboards.

First of the birch catkins, against a stormy sky -- a few drops of rain today, nothing for  the record books.

A neighbor eager to get busy with gardening. Usually Anchorageites wait until Memorial Day weekend to plant things in the ground -- it's too cold for before that. This being only April 27, the gardeners have a full month to wait.

Snow melting from the mountains.

Walking along the Old Seward Highway today to pick up our car from the mechanics' place on International Airport Road. It's still dusty and brown for the most part, with little to enliven the views. "Alaska's Concealment Headquarters" did catch our eyes though.

A low shrub with small brilliant red leaves.

Along the fence at the edge of Cuddy Park the grass is littered with feathers.

Every open mouth on a gull represents a drawn-out screech.

You can practically see  this one's tonsils. There were many more gulls and geese today than a couple of days ago, and fewer mallards.

This explains in part, perhaps, why there were more birds -- someone feeding them.

Looking east with storm clouds in the northeast, and the mountains showing due east.

Jim keeping an eye on the rain possibilities.

Brilliant red branches -- they've been this color all winter, but seem even brighter now against the gray water.

This looks like a herring gull -- red spot on the lower part of its bill, flesh-colored legs, black wing tip feathers with white spots on them.

Pansies and violas at Fred Meyers.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sandhill cranes, and a moose -- April 26, 2015

We went hunting for sandhill cranes today. The Alaska Dispatch News had an article about them the other day, saying that they'd been seen in the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. That's the stretch of land from Point Woronzof to Potter Creek, 16 miles. Potter Marsh is the southern end of the refuge, and it's not very wide, but still -- finding where a few sandhill cranes might be hanging out took a good half hour of intensive Internet research. Campbell Creek Estuary is a municipal park located in southwest Anchorage that was supposed to be a hot spot for them.

The crane-viewing blind at Campbell Estuary. The cranes we saw were at the Eco-Tone viewing platform at the foot of the bluff.

So here it is -- the pair we saw mostly had their heads down in the grass feeding (this seems to be a trait of many of the birds we've seen recently -- swans, ducks, you name it -- they're too busy eating to pose for the camera). This one finally got its head up and I pushed the button at the right time. But it was far away, and very much the color of the winter grasses. They'll be easier to see later in the season, when the grass is green and they are not. We heard them -- a series of hollows calls. Jim found an app on his phone that called back to them. After a bit, they got bored and went back to dinner.

In the same stretch of grassy flats at the bottom of a hill, we saw this moose, took a few photos, and then climbed back up the hill to the Meadow Loop Trail, and continued on it back toward the car.

After a bit, Jim wondered where the moose was, and looked to his left and found it just on the other side of the fence along the trail. We decided to backtrack, and take the long way around to the car.

Not too bad -- a moose and two cranes, so we headed to Potter Marsh to see the swans. Except, they'd gone, leaving some gulls, and a few ducks (mallards and scaups) and Canada geese, and not many of those.

Disappointing to not see the cranes better, but, it was warm (60-ish), not much wind, peaceful, and we got to explore two parts of Anchorage that we hadn't seen much of before. This is Fire Island with the wind turbines, from a different angle (from Campbell Estuary) than we usually see it.

Signs of spring today --

A boat headed south on the Seward Highway for the beginning of the season.

Something green taking root on a decaying tree trunk.

Fishing at Jewel Lake -- I don't know what is on the shore -- an overturned sail boat?

Playing Frisbee-something on the Park Strip -- which means that the ground has dried out enough to not squish under every step.

Bergenia blooming -- one of the earliest flowers.

Gulls and geese at Westchester Lagoon, sorting out who gets the last of the crumbs that someone was feeding them.

A cat enjoying the late afternoon breezes at an open door.

A flock of geese circling over Westchester Lagoon.

The Alaska Range, faintly outlined behind the lagoon.

Evening sky at Westchester Lagoon.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Heart Run and more -- April 25, 2015

The fuzzy jazz band that plays at the Heart Run every ran -- in real life, it's sharp in every sense of the word. One of the great things about the Heart Run is this group, the Crow Creek bagpipe and drum group, and the belly dancers, all providing entertainment along the way.

Not many photos of the Heart Run --  sadly, I forgot the memory card for my camera  and had to rely on my phone. It is not an up-to-date phone with a fabulous camera, as you can see. Marla and I walked the "Timed Run," and did well. Sunny cool day, with about 6,000 people. It was so pleasant that we walked back to her car at our house, for a total of about 5 1/4 miles.

Kids are another great thing about the Heart Run -- lots of them.

Sprint to the Finish line.

Neighbor's tree, dripping with catkins.

A dish of dill, ready to go on the salmon for dinner.

Ikebna arrangement by a friend.

Carnations for the house, because we don't have any other flowers that we can bring in yet.