One of the townie moose cows had twins this year, and they occasionally wander through and munch on the plants around our house. Mom is totally calm, though I still wouldn’t approach her on foot. The two calves are a little jumpy, probably because they spend an inordinate amount of time running away from loose dogs.
While Tyra was visiting, we took a trip with The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies across Kachemak Bay to tour their field station in Peterson Bay. They have a house, a composting toilet complex and 4 yurts, where schools can bring classes for 3 to 5 day stays. There are a number of trails on the peninsula they occupy, as well as some spectacular tide pools.
Everything here in Homer is based on the tides. Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay have the second highest tides in the world, next to the Bay of Fundy in Canada. Depending on where the moon is, low and high tide can differ by 28′! The best low tides are in the negatives, where the ocean recedes further than it usually does. We get a -4′ or -5′ tide every month or so, and everyone goes clam-digging since so much land is exposed.
All of that just to say: our low tide for this particular excursion sucked. It was, at its lowest, a +3.5′. So we took a hike in the forest with our naturalist guide, Dan. I learned an incredible amount on the hike, like the 4 different types of fern (Fox, Lady, Oak, Wood), elderberry leaves stink a lot and why the spruce beetle killing off huge swaths of trees isn’t a bad thing.
You know it’s spring in Alaska when these creepy, slender dinosaur-like tall, majestic birds start popping up everywhere, uttering their signature menacing croak delightful trill. Standing between 4 and 5 feet tall, these Sandhill Cranes seem like they are straight out of Jurassic Park, as they stalk through your yard and jump up and down during their mating dance.
Apparently a pair have taken up residence in our neighbor’s little patch of woods, as I’ve seen them wandering around our street for the past few days. You’d think the abundance of free-roaming neighborhood dogs would deter the cranes from sticking around, but you’d be wrong.
Tomorrow marks the start of this year’s Shorebird Festival, so hopefully Skippy and I will get to do some fun stuff this weekend. Last year we took one of our two total trips out on Kachemak Bay to do a boat tour of Gull Island (yes, that’s where the seagulls nest, very good), so we’ll try something different this year.