Monday, April 20, 2015

The swans return

Finally -- swans -- at Potter Marsh, and Alyeska. Trumpeter swans migrate through the Anchorage area spring and fall on their way to nesting grounds. Eighty percent of North American trumpeter swans nest and breed in Alaska. Some winter over here, but most disperse to different areas in the continental U.S. for the winter. Occasionally a pair will nest near Anchorage where they can be seen throughout the summer, but most go further away from large communities. These are still gray, which means they might be just a year or two old.

This swan, in the wetlands across from the entrance to Gridwood on the Seward Highway, is  white.

Plenty of geese at Ship Creek -- this gaggle seemed to be engaged in a lot of splashing about.

The tide was rolling in, with opaque gray waves that looked like Bootlegger''s clay come to life.

It didn't bother the gulls lined up at the water's edge.

We drove to Alyeska, in part to look for the swans, and in part to see how much snow was left.

Around Anchorage, great road trip weather. Further south, rainy and a chill wind.

Alyeska on Easter, April 5, two weeks ago.

Same area today -- no snow at all on the lower trees, and not so much higher up. Light rain, and clouded slopes.

There's no snow in the avalanche chutes along the Seward Highway. Not sure that I've ever seen that before at this time of the year. This chute (other than the brown grass) looks like it might on an August day after a very warm summer.
The sap is rising in the trees and shrubs, yellows, greens, and reds.

Later in the day we walked along Ship Creek. The Totem North Star is getting ready to sail to Tacoma; the tugs are in place. Looks like a barge with containers might be heading out too.

The wooden trestle railroad bridge across Ship Creek. A nearby sign says that the original one was built in 1916; it was rebuilt in 1938 and 1956. The railroad stopped using it in 1987, and it was converted to a pedestrian bridge. It now has a private restaurant on it. The higher concrete bridge in the background is part of the A Street- C Street couplet that goes up to the Government Hill neighborhood.

Yesterday the horse and carriage was giving free rides to people at Kids' Day; today it was filled with a wedding party that was on a little outing before dinner at the restaurant on the bridge.

Johnny-jump-ups at the railroad station -- they've survived the winter, and are beginning to thrive.

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