Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A great gray owl perches in an aspen tree on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge notebook: Winter is the season for finding great gray owls

Winter can be a fantastic time to observe owls. Owls can be very secretive, sitting quietly in trees with color patterns that provide effective camouflage.… Continue reading

  • Feb 24, 2021
  • By DAWN ROBIN MAGNESS Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
  • SportsOutdoors

 

A day on Kachemak Bay. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Water taxi talking

Reporters spend a lot of time talking to people: people they don’t know, people they do know, people who really don’t want to talk to… Continue reading

 

Salt marshes are important food sources for brown bears. As we see an earlier start to the growing season or increased plant growth, bears will likely benefit from them even more. (Photo by Michael Hannam/NPS)

Refuge Notebook: Could bears benefit from changing coastal marshes?

Flying over the Cook Inlet coast, you can look down and see expansive salt marshes where mountain rivers meet the sea in lush green meadows.… Continue reading

 

A red-breasted nuthatch looks over its shoulder between bites of suet in a hanging-cage style feeder. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Social distancing is not just for humans

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that hits our news feeds often. Infections in human foods cause illness across the country and often result in… Continue reading

A red-breasted nuthatch looks over its shoulder between bites of suet in a hanging-cage style feeder. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)
Phil Basargin 5-year-old Maxim Basargin around the ice Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 during the Skate the Lake event on Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. The free skating event was hosted for the community by the Homer Hockey Association. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homerites take to the lake in skate event

Homer Hockey Association hosted Skate the Lake for the community

Phil Basargin 5-year-old Maxim Basargin around the ice Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 during the Skate the Lake event on Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. The free skating event was hosted for the community by the Homer Hockey Association. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A rare photograph of a shrew during winter. This shrew was observed above the snow where it had been sneaking out of the subnivean zone for short periods of time, possibly to exploit seeds or suet that had fallen on top of the snow beneath a bird feeder in Soldotna.

Refuge notebook: The hidden subnivean

Alaska summers are fast paced with people, wildlife and plants all in apparent frenzy trying to capitalize on warm temperatures and sunlight. And with good… Continue reading

Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A rare photograph of a shrew during winter. This shrew was observed above the snow where it had been sneaking out of the subnivean zone for short periods of time, possibly to exploit seeds or suet that had fallen on top of the snow beneath a bird feeder in Soldotna.
Predaceous flatworms hide under leaves by day in a spring near Soldotna Airport on Dec. 21, 2017. At night they hunt for other invertebrates. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Life in Kenai Peninsula freshwater springs

I like winter. I really do. The cold and the dark don’t wear on me too much as long as I can get out and… Continue reading

Predaceous flatworms hide under leaves by day in a spring near Soldotna Airport on Dec. 21, 2017. At night they hunt for other invertebrates. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Photo by Katrina Liebich/USFWS 
A fish friendly culvert in Alaska.

Refuge Notebook: What’s your number? Mine is 5

Have you ever considered how many salmon streams you cross on your daily drive to work, school or another location you frequent? My number is… Continue reading

Photo by Katrina Liebich/USFWS 
A fish friendly culvert in Alaska.
Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS 
Biological intern Annaleese Rasanen surveys severely burned alpine shrub tundra within the Swan Lake Fire burn July 27, 2020.

Refuge Notebook: A refuge manager’s perspective on 2020

A friend and colleague recently sent me a list of “things to consider” as 2020 drew to a close (all credit to the unidentified source… Continue reading

Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS 
Biological intern Annaleese Rasanen surveys severely burned alpine shrub tundra within the Swan Lake Fire burn July 27, 2020.
Fletcher runs through the snow on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: How all the dogs in my life have kept me sane and happy

I have written before about the virtues of big, rowdy dogs in developing an exercise plan. In my more than 40 years in Alaska, I… Continue reading

Fletcher runs through the snow on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
The author looks across Eklutna Lake on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020 near Eagle River, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey)

Out of the Office: Good riddance

When I first saw my turn in the rotating schedule for writing this column would fall on New Year’s Eve, my mind jumped to a… Continue reading

The author looks across Eklutna Lake on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020 near Eagle River, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey)
My makeshift Christmas tree only had a few ornaments this year, but brought a lot of joy. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Happy Holidays

I just wrapped up celebrating Christmas 2020, a holiday marked by familial Zoom calls, small gatherings and a global pandemic. I wasn’t expecting much, but… Continue reading

My makeshift Christmas tree only had a few ornaments this year, but brought a lot of joy. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
A Northern Hawk Owl clutching a red-backed vole near Watson Lake between Sterling and Cooper Landing, Alaska on Nov. 30, 2020. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)

Northern Hawk Owls frequent Swan Lake Fire burn

In a gliding dive it swooped down from atop an aspen and disappeared, plunging into the fresh snow behind a stand of willows. I hunkered… Continue reading

A Northern Hawk Owl clutching a red-backed vole near Watson Lake between Sterling and Cooper Landing, Alaska on Nov. 30, 2020. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
Bottenintnin Lake, seen on Nov. 24, 2020 near Sterling, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: More questions than answers

The only place life makes sense anymore is the outdoors. How do we balance the needs of students and parents with the safety of school… Continue reading

Bottenintnin Lake, seen on Nov. 24, 2020 near Sterling, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Anglers fish for steelhead in the Anchor River by the Anchor River Bridge on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

State seeks proposals for local campground management

State Parks extends deadline for bids to provide boat launch service at Deep Creek, Anchor River

Anglers fish for steelhead in the Anchor River by the Anchor River Bridge on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Wyatt, at age 4, helping dad harvest crawfish at White River NWR in Arkansas. (Photo by Matt Conner/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Crawfish to Christmas trees

My rubber knee boots provided little traction as I slowly slid down the mucky side of the bank toward the muddied water. The soft mud… Continue reading

Wyatt, at age 4, helping dad harvest crawfish at White River NWR in Arkansas. (Photo by Matt Conner/USFWS)
Silver salmon swim in Sucker Creek on Sept. 18, 2020. Surface streams on the Kenai Peninsula and fish in them have far less arsenic in them than in some well water in the area. (Photo by Matt Bowser/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Arsenic in murder and nature

Arsenic, though often difficult to detect, is hard to ignore. As the 20th most common element in the Earth’s crust, arsenic occurs naturally in volcanic… Continue reading

Silver salmon swim in Sucker Creek on Sept. 18, 2020. Surface streams on the Kenai Peninsula and fish in them have far less arsenic in them than in some well water in the area. (Photo by Matt Bowser/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Photo by J. Pfeiffenberger/NPS 
Visitors enjoy bear viewing in the saltmarsh at Chinitna Bay, Lake Clark National Park.

Refuge Notebook: Visitors to Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks rely on Kenai Peninsula services

Two national park and preserve areas, Lake Clark and Katmai, located just across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula, offer some of Alaska’s most spectacular… Continue reading

Photo by J. Pfeiffenberger/NPS 
Visitors enjoy bear viewing in the saltmarsh at Chinitna Bay, Lake Clark National Park.
A snowshoe hare in its white winter coat. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: The verge of winter

As the daylight hours seem to slip away, the temperatures are slowly getting lower and the silky flowing waters of rivers, lakes and streams begin… Continue reading

A snowshoe hare in its white winter coat. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
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