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Thread: The view up north

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default The view up north

    I work at Alpine. (It's in the Colville River delta about 55 miles west of Deadhorse)

    There is waterfowl everywhere...last night there were two pairs of Speckled Bellies and their goslings feeding right outside my room. I watched and listened to them for about 30 minutes or so. Did I remember to bring my camera this hitch? No, of course not.

    The camp here is a series of interconnected hallways (think giant ATCOs) up on pilings. The gap between the kitchen/dining area and the "C" wing overlooks a wet, grassy area that's mostly a big puddle. There's a Blue Winged Teal hen (I'm pretty sure it's a Blue-very prominent dark line over the eye) that takes her babies there every day. She's got 12 ducklings! 12! I didn't know Teal could have a brood that big.

    There are several pairs of swans, a bunch of Canada's, eiders and a pair of Yellow-billed Loons but I haven't actually seen the loons.

    Anyway, the slope is a cool place to work if you like watching wildlife.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  2. #2
    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    Default Take some pics!

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    I work at Alpine. (It's in the Colville River delta about 55 miles west of Deadhorse)

    There is waterfowl everywhere...last night there were two pairs of Speckled Bellies and their goslings feeding right outside my room. I watched and listened to them for about 30 minutes or so. Did I remember to bring my camera this hitch? No, of course not.

    The camp here is a series of interconnected hallways (think giant ATCOs) up on pilings. The gap between the kitchen/dining area and the "C" wing overlooks a wet, grassy area that's mostly a big puddle. There's a Blue Winged Teal hen (I'm pretty sure it's a Blue-very prominent dark line over the eye) that takes her babies there every day. She's got 12 ducklings! 12! I didn't know Teal could have a brood that big.

    There are several pairs of swans, a bunch of Canada's, eiders and a pair of Yellow-billed Loons but I haven't actually seen the loons.

    Anyway, the slope is a cool place to work if you like watching wildlife.
    They are uncommon and rare and at the best casual or accidental in Alaska. I have shot 3 in the last 16 years and know of a couple others. Do you know anyone with a camera that can take a picture for you

  3. #3
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    Well that hen is definitely a Green. T'was sunny Tuesday night and she had her brood right up next to the pad and I caught a definite flash of bright green on her wing. She's still got 12 babies despite a pair of Jaegers in the area.

    We've got a few caribou bulls that have moved in to. One's about 4 years old with a nice rack so far. Had the swans under my window last night.

    Skeeters were out in force today.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Well, I managed to get some pics of the teal brood tonight. The ducklings are nearly as big as their momma and fledged. They all pretty much look like hens but I'm sure the males will molt at some point. All 12 chicks survived.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  5. #5

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    some of the chicks could be, and not possible, from two diffrent hens. one mama will raise many chicks in the waterfowl world.

  6. #6
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Speckled Belly Geese

    Coming soon to a field near you....

    Some Specks for your viewing pleasure.

    Waterfowl 015.jpgWaterfowl 016.jpg
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  7. #7
    Member kylemac's Avatar
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    Default

    Nice pictures! Thanks

  8. #8
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing!
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

  9. #9

    Default Slope Waterfowl

    Very nice pictures!
    I wish I had been more into photography when I worked on the slope in the mid 70's and early 80's. I was an expediter and had my own truck to drive all around Prudhoe Bay then also worked several summers off shore. The waterfowl there is spectacular! The Specks nesting in the tundra were comical and beautiful. The Eiders nesting on the offshore islands leaving behind huge balls of down rolling around in the wind to be picked up by some native guys, and then the migration flights of the sea ducks in the fall blackening the view at about 4' above the water, wave after wave, mesmerizing, WOW!
    Enjoy your time there and keep taking those pics. Thanks

  10. #10
    Member PG13's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    She's got 12 ducklings! 12! I didn't know Teal could have a brood that big.
    Erik, I was mostly in the Prudhoe field this week and didn't see any teal, maybe they moved out already. TONS of greater white-fronted geese though. Even saw a few snow geese here and there (was told this is uncommon). Jaegers were here and there but the Snowy Owls are thick this year, holy smokes.

    Here is a link to the species account for green-winged teal. http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i1390id.html

    I don't have my field information from my nesting study in northwestern Minnesota but I remember the blue-winged teal had a LOT of eggs. The link above says greenwings will have 6-18 eggs in a clutch. Good thing the arctic is so productive or that kind of effort would have killed the hen.

    Enjoying the pictures, keep posting please! It's fun up there to have them so comfortable that you can stop and take pics and they don't really seem to mind. Have a neat picture of 15 musk ox by the West Kuparuk bridge from this week as well. Neat stuff.
    Go Big Red!

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