At the end of July 2018 my husband and I took a long anticipated trip to Alaska. I took sooooo many photos. It has taken me this long to edit my photos and post in my blog.
Our trip was to stay at a gold camp in Nome, Alaska. While Tim prospected for gold, I was going to do photography and birding. Yay!
We flew first to Anchorage and stayed a couple nights. We wanted to have one full day to drive the Seward Highway and play tourist. As it must always be in Alaska, it was cloudy and rainy. But we still went out to explore.
I got my first new bird while parking for breakfast. It was sitting on a light post. A Glaucous-Winged Gull. These gulls are quite large, much larger than the Ring-Billed Gulls at home.
As we left Anchorage, our first stop was at Potter’s Marsh. It’s a fabulous birding spot with lots of boardwalks through a shallow marsh. A very scenic place to bird.
While there, my husband Tim spotted a moose deep in the grasses. How exciting! It’s only the 2nd time I’ve seen a wild moose. Not a great photo, but still a great find!
I saw quite a few birds here. Most familiar to me back home but still a joy to see. But I also got some new birds – which is even more enjoyable!
Sadly, I saw a pair of Trumpeter Swans as we started down the Seward Highway. This was a new bird for me, but I couldn’t get a photograph. That highway is busy and narrow with very few places to stop. So I was unable to get a photo. 🙁
We did stop at a few of the pullouts to take some scenic photos. So Beautiful!
We stopped at one place to hike a beautiful trail along a river. Though it was cold and rainy, it will still so beautiful to get out and explore.
We stopped at a gold mine to see if we could pan a little gold. It was a beautiful place and I did find a few flakes. 🙂
We had dinner in Anchorage. While searching for a place to eat, we came across a popular fishing hole right in town. The salmon were running and the people were catching them one after another.
Sadly, we only had the one day to explore the Anchorage area. We left the next day for Nome. My next post will be about all the fabulous new species of birds I saw while staying in Nome.
During the last week of December, I was able to take a trip to Bosque del Apache. I try to visit there every December as that’s when the winter bird count is pretty high.
I left well before sunrise. As I was driving down, I started getting into thicker and thicker fog. At one point I had to slow down to 40 mph on a 75 mph interstate.
It was difficult to bird first thing due to the thick fog, so I took a few scenic shots.
Boardwalk through the marsh
A lone American Coot walking through the marsh area
I was pleased to see a beautiful coyote in his handsome winter coat.
Beautiful coyote among the hoarfrost
Fortunately, the fog cleared up once the sun rose and I was able to start hunting for birds.
I first noticed a Great Blue Heron grooming.
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
There were lots of raptors about. Most of them seemed reluctant to move from their morning perch.
American Bald Eagles
I started driving around the ponds to see what waterfowl was about. I happened to notice two Northern Harriers squabbling. They were quite a ways away but I managed to capture a pic.
Northern Harriers fighting
I was surprised to find that there really wasn’t very many waterfowl about. I had to really search the ponds to find any. Not sure where they were all hiding.
Bufflehead – male
Bufflehead – female
Of course there were lots of Snow Geese about. But every time I made it around the circle to see them, they were flying.
I always hear there are wading birds that winter at the refuge, but I rarely see them. But on this day I saw three Lesser Yellowlegs feeding in the shallows of a pond.
I saw a few songbirds about that day. There were a couple of rare sightings for the area, but I never saw them. Drat!
One of my favorite sightings of the day was a Crissal Thrasher singing his little heart out atop a bush. Surprisingly he let me get pretty close singing the whole time.
I sat and watched a roadrunner look for lunch. They are always entertaining. He hunted for awhile before he noticed me watching. I took this pic the moment he realized he wasn’t alone. 🙂
My last sighting of the day was a grebe off in the distance. When I zoomed in and took a pic, I was delighted to see it was a Clark’s Grebe. These are considered a rare sighting for the area, so that was a real treat.
I left around noon and decided to drive a different route home. I took the Quebradas Scenic Route home. I had heard a lot about this road. But to be honest I couldn’t really see why it was considered so beautiful. But there was one place on the road I found very picturesque, so I got out a took a pic.
Quebradas Scenic Route
Just before leaving that highway, I came across some deer feeding in the fields.
I still had some light left in the day, so I stopped in at the Bernardo Refuge. The Sandhill Cranes seem to prefer this area over Bosque del Apache.
I got there near sunset, and all the cranes were coming in to the pond to drink. It was a beautiful sight seeing and hearing the cranes flying overhead in the soft light of sunset.
While photographing the cranes, I happened to notice the Super Moon had risen. It was big and blue!
I had a wonderful day birding. It had been quite some time since I had been able to take a whole day to bird.
I saved the most difficult category for last – miscellaneous birds. Specifically flycatchers. I am challenged when it comes to identifying flycatchers. Thankfully, there was a local birding expert nearby when I saw the flycatchers, and she was able to identify them for me. You can see why it’s challenging to identify them…they almost look identical!
Here’s the many variety of flycatchers I saw at Port Aransas. And they are all lifers!!!
While visiting there, I went out every morning before dawn. I saw some beautiful sights around the town. One morning I toured the marina and took a few pics.
Homes on the Port Aransas Marina
The beach at dawn is gorgeous. Very few people, calm winds, the sounds of the surf and birds.
Horace Caldwell Pier at sunrise
I found some sand sculptures one morning. They must have had a contest the day before that was sponsored by Crown Royal. I was pretty impressed with the sculptures, though I can’t figure out why the pig was the grand champion. Hmmmmmm…..
It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere
Grand Champion Pig
While walking Charlie’s Pasture I did encounter a few butterflies. They were difficult to find as the wind blew pretty good almost my entire trip. I found other fun stuff too while hiking the boardwalks.
A gorgeous passion flower
I believe this is a White Peacock that survived a close call!
Green Anole shedding its skin. I loved to catch these lizards when I was a little kid living in Houston!
A very fresh Pipevine Swallowtail
One morning at Charlie’s Pasture I came across a coyote. Just beautiful!
While visiting the Leonabelle Refuge I saw lots of Great-Tailed Grackles and a few other fun things.
The sightings of the day 🙂
Mullet – this fish was 2.5 feet long!
I had two birds I really wanted to see while visiting the Gulf Coast. The first was the Roseate Spoonbill, which I did see and posted about previously. The second bird was the Crested Caracara. I have looked for this bird for years. On this trip I finally saw it. Then like my blogging friend Aussiebirder who recently commented “it takes you forever to see that lifer bird, then it seems like once you see it, you see it everywhere!” I think I saw over 10 individuals while there this last trip.
Along with the Crested Caracara I saw these other two birds I scared off a dead coyote.
One day we visited Aransas Wildlife Refuge. It took about 1.5 hours to get there, but was well worth the trip. That particular day was extremely windy. The beach would have been miserable. But with all the trees at the refuge, it was a beautiful day. The very first thing we saw were 3 alligators!!! 🙂 That was awesome!
We drove around this large refuge and came across some fun stuff. There was this 80-foot high catwalk. It was so fun to walk that climbing, winding cawalk. At the top the views of the coastline were amazing!
Scarlett loved running up the path
My mom waving from further down the path. Such fun!
While hiking this catwalk, we spotted a huge butterfly. It landed very briefly for one photo.
And I got a beautiful shot of a dove.
We had a picnic in a lovely spot. A deer greeted us as we drove up. This would be one of several deer we would see that day.
Me and Scarlett
Beautiful picnic area
I love the oak trees in Texas
I took mom and dad out to a nice dinner for Dad’s birthday. The restaurant was small and intimate and the food was delicious.
My dad (Joe) at his birthday dinner
But our favorite place to eat was Trout Street. We ate there twice on the patio enjoying the marina view. After dinner on one visit, mom and I toured the docks. I really considered buying this yacht that was for sale (NOT!). 🙂
Mom and Dad (Dorothy and Joe)
Dad looking very nautical in his blue and white striped shirt 🙂
Me enjoying a lovely dinner on the marina
My beautiful mother!
Tempting to buy….. LOL!
One day visiting the beach we drove past a Jeep Rally. I was really wishing I was in my Jeep. But sadly we were in my dad’s Ford pickup. I need to see about Jeep Rallies in New Mexico!
Jeep Rally at the Beach
Lots of great Jeeps were there
It was a wonderful trip to the Gulf Coast!!! I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures there.