Sunday, May 15, 2011


Tim Walker meets me at the airport right on time as I arrive in Fairbanks about 8:00 this morning.  He is my boss and the man I will be spending a great deal of time with at Kanuti Wildlife Refuge.  We get acquainted with on another and then he drives me all around, up and down the city of Fairbanks.  From the University of Alaska to the downtown area.  It really doesn't take all that long.  We even stopped a couple times to check out the Alaska Bird Observatory (ABO) and then some impromptu birding at Creamers Field.

I watch as a woman in full waders retrieves a couple of Common Redpolls from a net and then bands and releases them.  It is nice to see some birds up close and personal without the aid of binoculars.  Their size, shape, and texture are immediately discernible.

Next, Tim takes me to the Teel's house in which I will be staying the next couple nights.  They are some of the kindest people and most generous people I have met.  They offer far more then I need or can even use and we talk birds for a while as their Cockatoo, Lucky, chatters for attention.

After a little nap I am ready to check out Fairbanks on my own.  I head out on an ABO bike to try to learn my way around. Ending up back the ABO headquarters I decide to go on a short hike. They have a small network of trails behind the building connecting various grassland, bog, lake and white and black spruce habitats. What a day!

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Everyone I talk to mentions how today is the first day of warmth they have had and how it provides a glimpse of the short and sweet summer to come.  I finish my ride in time to have a delicious meal with the Teel's and suddenly we are at it again.  At the drop of a hat, or rather the squawk of a bird we are headed out to go find some waterfowl down by the dump and out by the airport.  Neither of these would seem like beautiful places... and they are not, but there are tons of bird in both spots.  Considering that it is 8:00 at night makes it all the more wild.  Lucky comes along for the ride and gets a bit overexcited and seems to mistake my finger for a snack.  A beak like that can really chomp down! 

Ok, it is late and I plan on some more birding tomorrow.  It is 11:00 now and the sun is still up in full view.

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