Saturday, April 25, 2015

The pines are blooming -- April 24, 2015

On this pine branch you can see the cones, and to the upper right, a flower (but I don't know whether it's male or female).

I never gave it much thought until I was walking into Costco today and noticed some nice-looking pine branches with neatly clustered cones. I started taking pictures and then saw what had to be flowers, with pollen on them.

Sure enough, pines do bloom. It's the male flower structures that dispense the pollen. The wind carries it to female flowers that grow into cones. That takes a long time -- as much as three years.

The pussy willows at Cuddy Park are laden with pollen too.

Also at Cuddy Park --  geese, ducks, gulls. Jim envied this mallard pair the ability to sleep standing on one foot with heads tucked into their own feather pillows.

A gaggle of geese on the water . . .

and then suddenly calling and circling over the pond.

A gull, a goose, mallards . . .

Sun in the clouds over Cuddy Park.

Later, at Point Woronzof, an Alaska Airlines flight coming in.

Looking northeast at Woronzof, toward the Alaska Range.

Jim, and sunset. Note how close the sun is setting to Mt. Susitna. In another month or so , it will be setting to the east of Susitna.

Looking northwest after sunset.

Signs of spring -- skinny-tired bikes are out, grass is greening up. In Anchorage, we see people in flip-flops and shorts almost any time of the year, at least at stores and walking here and there for short distances. But now the sandals and shorts are showing up more often and at a greater distance from shelter. Encouraging.

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