Date: July 17, 2013
Tonight’s Location: Homer, AK
Weather: partly sunny
Temperature: start 56º
Wildlife count: Sea Otters
Year List: 260
Birds: Gray Jays, Trumpeter Swans, Black-billed Magpies, Red-necked Grebe, Bald Eagles and chicks, Black-legged Kittiwakes & chicks, Northwestern Crows, Common Ravens, Common Loon, Common Murre, White-winged Scoters, Ruddy Turnstones
When we got to the Visitor’s Center, we realized that most staff was gone today. So, we had a lot of talking to do. Lunchtime came, and we hustled to eat, and I spent time studying in prep for the Discovery Lab, where I had the Bald Eagle station. It contained an eagle wing, tail, and lots of extra feathers. Everyone loved that. The other part of the table was to challenge people to age the Bald Eagle – it takes 5 years for eagles to molt into the white head and tail, with black body. Lot of people enjoyed that, including a bunch of kids.
The lab runs from 1-3pm, but at 2:45, I left to begin the Birding Tour. However, when I saw John, he was a little panicked. He was getting all of the equipment and field guides ready, but realized that there was NO van. Evidently, some folks did not check the schedule and used the van to transport to the Tiĝlax, when it left this morning, and left it at the Deep Water Dock. We didn’t know that and called everywhere, eventually finding our boss at the dentist. We ended up taking 2 Suburbans for the full load of 13 people, but it worked quite well. After that slow start, it was a grand tour. We even got to see a full view of the 2 adult Trumpeter Swans and their 3 cygnets.
After the tour, we rushed back to park the vehicles and I hurried home to prepare potatoes for tonight’s potluck. John closed the visitor’s center and then walked home. After we changed clothes and quickly packed up the cheesy potatoes, we drove out to Jess’s house; she is the Ed coordinator for the Kachemak Bay Estuarine Research Reserve, and she had a few folks over for dinner. We ate outside by a fire and the menu was typical Alaskan: salmon prepared two ways, purple cabbage slaw from her garden, pasta salad with garden veggies from her garden, potatoes, and rhubarb crisp, from Carmen’s garden. She has a high tunnel, a large greenhouse in which she was growing sweet corn, strawberries, tomatoes, as well as several other greenhouses that housed every kind of veggie one could imagine – all huge and very healthy. She even had chickens that laid eggs! We had a great time sitting around the fire listening to stories of bear encounters at McNeil River Falls, where Conrad & Carmen spent a summer leading bear fieldtrips. It was incredible.
Some days at the office are just crazier than others!