It was a cloudy morning as Dave and I drove up and down Arctic Valley Road today. The mountains, as always were beautiful. They still had some yellow colors and some of the mountain tops had sprinkles of white “termination dust”. We stopped every now and then for photos. The sun did appear briefly a couple of times, changing the lighting on some of the mountains.
There were very few birds on the trip (about 14 miles round trip) – 2 Black-billed Magpies, four Black-capped Chickadees, one Boreal Chickadee, a small flock of Common Redpolls, a Common Raven, and a Northern Flicker, a bird I rarely see around here. The flicker flew past at one of our stops, briefly landed on a spruce top and was gone.
It is that time, once again to realize that maybe the season of Fall has to do with falling leaves (if you live in a place with trees with leaves). This is clearly the case at Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area (Anchorage) where I walked a couple of days ago (and where I fell off the trail (don’t ask) and skidded and ran down a steep hill and then fell, like the leaves, to the forest floor and rolled to a stop at the foot of a lovely birch tree; my body, though not visibly seriously damaged, still aches all over).
Yesterday I drove to Lakes Hood and Spenard, where the most evident birds were small flocks of Greater Scaup (no photo) and Common Goldeneyes, soon to be going, going, gone when the lakes freeze over, as will the single Red-necked Grebe that I saw (the dot to the left of the plane is also the grebe shown in the photo to the right of the plane photo).
For those not familiar with these two lakes and how ducks (and other birds) and planes coexist there until the freezing of the lakes causes the waterbirds to leave, I am including the following video – note the ducks flying by at the beginning of the video and the ducks on the water behind the plane at the end of the video, never leaving, just moving as necessary when the planes get too close:
While the “termination dust” (first snowfall) is not yet staying on the mountain tops that we can see from our house, soon when I look out my window I will not see yellows. They will be gone, replaced by white. Of course, it will still be beautiful.