As much as we hate to admit it, winter is approaching. For some of us winter means snow dances, aurora photos, and ski waxing clinics.
Fall is in the air. Last week, I took a quick walk through the woods. I watched golden leaves sail to the ground. A Varied Thrush popped onto a leafless branch in front of me while a small flock of these birds moved along the ground eating berries.
The League of Women Voters recently hosted a "Climate Change in our Backyard" workshop. Over 100 people gathered to learn about climate change impacts on the Kenai Peninsula and to discuss solutions.
Bird watchers come in all flavors from the hardcore lister to the person who casually watches birds at their backyard feeder.
It was like a scene out of the movie "The Big Year" starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. Several hotshot birding friends decided to make a run to Seward after a recent storm to see what interesting birds might have been deposited.
A couple weeks ago, a small flock of Steller's Jays flew across the Sterling Highway as I drove past the Welcome to Soldotna sign. Their dark bodies, crested heads, rounded wings, and long tails make them fairly easy to identify from a distance.
Most locals know there are ptarmigan on the Kenai Peninsula. If you spend any time in the high country, you're bound to run into these birds at some point while tramping around. About this time of year, some ptarmigan will migrate down to the lowlands, showing up in odd places like Ski Hill Road or along the Soldotna airport fence. But a friend of mine, who I skied with through Crescent Lake recently, was unaware that there are three ptarmigan species on the Kenai despite the fact that he grew up here. And that got me thinking there might be a story here.
The 2007 Live Earth Concert was a worldwide rock and roll extravaganza that played out on all seven continents. The promoters ought to consider themselves darn lucky to have found a group of scientists in Antarctica who also happened to play indie rock. Their band's name, "Nunatak," introduced global audiences to a unique geologic feature found only in glaciated areas of the world including the Kenai Peninsula.
I began my working life in the fast food industry. So when I was hired by the U.S. Forest Service to do manual labor during college, I was thrilled. I was on fire crew that spent the summer thinning forest stands and clearing trails. I could not believe someone would pay me to be outside in the woods.
On Dec. 19 volunteers will spend 24 hours focused on Soldotna's 2009 Christmas Bird Count. Every winter since 1983, local birders serving as citizen scientists have braved winter conditions to count all the birds found within a 15-mile diameter circle centered on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. The birds found are compiled and entered into a national database with over 100 years of observations.
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