June 13 – Nome Bluethroats

My main reason for returning to Nome in late May/early June this year was to see Bluethroats again, and of course, to photograph them. So, on my first full day there, May 30, I drove slowly down Kougarok Road where I’d had the most luck seeing them last year. I recalled that about mile 21-24 or so was the best but I listened intently wherever there was brush. I heard my first singing Bluethroat at about mile 14, followed by another 0.2 mile later and others at miles 23 (after the baby moose adventure reported in my previous blog post), 32 (at twigs protruding from a snowy expanse), 41 (just after Salmon Lake), 49 and 50.5. Two days later I drove Teller Road and had sightings about at miles 14, 22 and 48.

The sound of a Bluethroat is both unlike any other bird sound and also similar sometimes as the singing bird periodically imitates other birds. Sounds just pour forth, musical, staccato, hurried, all over the place, even when the bird is flying up, fluttering in the sky, and coming back down (usually to the same perch as before). Unfortunately, for now I am unable to put videos on my blog, so cannot illustrate this further.

Below are samples of Bluethroat photographs from Nome.

June 11 – Nome Moose Report

Although my recent (May 29-June 5) trip to Nome was to see birds, some of the most memorable parts of the trip were the moose sightings. If you have been to Alaska, you probably are aware that it is common to see moose, sometimes only dimly, yet most Alaskans just want to see moose even more. than they do.

At this time of the year, however, it is the babies that make moose sightings special. Toward the end of the Nome trip, we were able to see a mother and newborn across the river from us. Even at that distance, the mother appeared ready to charge if we made a move in her direction.

The most memorable moose sighting of the trip came earlier, however. I was driving along Kougarok Road, which runs along a wide river (the Nome River, as I recall). Way off to my left I noticed a moose in the brush. Oddly, she seemed to be slowly turning in circles. Was she tethered or somehow caught in the brush? I stopped to watch, and then realized that mostly hidden beneath her was a youngster.

For some reason, the mother decided it was time to head across the river, aiming apparently for a spot in front of me.  I watched them cross the first section of the river, which seemed to go okay. And so did a second section of the river.

But then they came to the main part of the river, clearly much deeper, and the youngster could not quite make it and they turned back. The mother was so intent on this journey, so I was sure they were going to try again, but it was so scary I could not watch anymore.

So I don’t know the end of the story. Go ahead and write a happy ending for yourself, which I hope there was. When I returned later on my way to Nome itself, I did not have any moose sightings.

Note: my computer was not happy today to work with my blog host, and I had much difficulty making progress for a long time. Therefore, I’m not sure what will actually show once I publish this post. Let me know if much seems to be missing or garbled.

Also, I do plan to publish some photos of birds and scenes soon from this Nome trip, assuming I can get my blog stuff to work.