The title of this post (and the idea behind it) was shamelessly, shamelessly stolen from Seabrooke's wonderful The Marvelous in Nature. Truth be told I'd be much better served by stealing her writing skills, or her skills as a naturalist, but alas I have to make due with mine.
I'm behind. It seems that every time I leave the House I take dozens of photos, the time spent prepping them ends up taking most of my computer time, and then they end up not being posted. So... here are a bunch of miscellaneous photos, connected or not. This might take awhile, and it might no longer be Monday by the time I get them up. Expect a lot of iceberg photos. Really.
Here is the first one, the ever changing iceberg at the foot of Victor Bay, in late evening sun.
A couple of days ago, Hilary and I took advantage of the golden weather for a bit of a drive and some exploring. At Uluksan she quickly locked into a large patch of Dandelions in seed. The huge HUGE iceberg drifting down Adam's sound, coupled with Hilary and Dandelion seeds made an unbeatable photo op. I swear I only took about thirty of them.
Out the other day, I found a couple of juvenile Lapland Longspurs that were still hanging around. I would have suspected that they would have headed south already, but apparently not all of them. I tried to get a couple of photos of them but they left a lot to be desired.
I'm at the start of some unexpected days off, and managed to get out on a great hike today (more on that in another post - I really need to stop taking a hundred photos every outing). I again came across a couple of longspurs, but this time I managed to get a few decent shots.
School for Travis started on the 17th, but last Friday saw the very first day of preschool for Hilary. There is always some trepidation in events like this. Hilary spends a lot of time with me, and I was worried that when the time came for me to leave her at the classroom she'd start screaming.
It was needless worry. Hilary loves school. No make that LOVES school. When I told her I was leaving she could have cared less. "Yeah yeah dad, whatever. Go, you're standing in my light." The down side to this is when she is not a school I get a constant barrage of "When are you taking me to school, Dad?" "I want to go to school!!". So far the concept that she doesn't go everyday and then for only afternoons hasn't sunk in.
But that is a good thing. Her brother greatly enjoys school and I hope that they both carry this enthusiasm right through to adult hood. And beyond.
Some time ago Kimberlee, who is the woman behind a blog from the far north of Alaska called The Buggy Side of the Dog, posted a video of a jellyfish that produced an amazing light show along rows of cilia. While on first blush these multicolour lights along the eight rows of cilia would appear to be a form of bioluminescence they are not. What is actually happening is light is being scattered by the cilia as they pulse along the row, sort of like a multitude of tiny prisms doing the wave.
The jellyfish is a beroid ctenophore, one of the comb jellys, and while they do, in fact produce bioluminescence it can only been seen in the dark. The beroids are predators, using a cavernous mouth to engulf their prey, which is almost exclusively other comb jellyfish.
Yesterday I had a couple of hours to kill while Travis was in school for the afternoon. Alright, I didn't really have any hours to kill, but decided to kill a couple instead of any of my chores or other responsibilities. Hilary and I headed over to Victor Bay, unsuccessfully looking for the ukpikjuaq (Snowy Owl) on the way. It was almost dead calm over there, and we sat in the sun on some rocks by the shore, drank some coffee (well I did) and waited for something interesting to pass our way.
Well something did, for I first noticed one, and then dozens of these gelatinous predators in the water. Most were small, around a centimetre in length, but some (including the first one I noticed) were larger, four centimetres. We watched them drift/swim around for awhile, catching glimpses of their light show, usually when they were closest to the surface. Eventually we caught a couple of them and brought one back home to photograph, as all my attempts to get a decent photo in the field failed miserably. The photos are below, and in the first one you can see just a bit of the light show (a couple of cilia are blue) but it really doesn't do it justice.
Oh, one quick story before the photos. I was pointing out the first jellyfish to Hilary when she asked "Where are the turtles?". When I explained to her that there were no sea turtles up here, she replied "But turtles eat jellyfish". What? I mean they do, but where does a three year old learn that? I suspect Go Diego, Go.
Jochen, the (some what infrequent) blogger extraordinaire of Bell Tower Birding, made a photo request in the comments for this post of several days ago. In the comment he challenged me to post a flight photo of a white phase Gyrfalcon in front of an iceberg.
Now I think it will be a nigh on impossible photo, not because of the lighting challenges, but just because the chances of actually seeing a Gyrfalcon flying in front of an iceberg, or at least being in the right place to see it, are impossibly thin. (my god that is one run on sentence)
But I think, that what he was really after was a white bird against the white(ish) iceberg. Or maybe it was an avian predator with a floating glacial background he wanted. In any case, Jochen I have come through.
While out this afternoon I saw some Snow Geese feeding far down the outflow of Marcil Lake, our water source. A huge iceberg has made its way into Adam's Sound, drifting closer to Arctic Bay. I thought that it would make a great background and manouvered the truck to place the geese between me and the iceberg, far out in the sound.
After I snapped a couple of photos I noticed that a bird was repeatedly diving at the almost grown goslings, and at some young loons nearby. So I started paying more attention. A Red-throated Loon took to the air and then began mobbing the bird. I then realized that it was one of the jaeger species (this jury is still out on which one - it was a long way away). While I tried to get a decent record shot of the jaeger another small flock of Snow Geese started coming in to land, and the jaeger immediately went to them and swooped at them.
So, I give you white birds flying in front of an iceberg, with an avian predator in close proximity.
Now normally a list like this wouldn't bother me, I mean I could care less if I'm not on the same "totally hot" list as, say, Brad Pitt. It might be disconcerting if I was on the same list as that guy that plays the doctor on TV, who was in that movie about the male Maid of Honour. But that would be because I really can't see why people would think him totally hot, but I digress.
I'm late to this party. And it is one I shouldn't have missed. Liza Lee Miller, a wonderful blogger from California, friend, and frequent visitor to the House, is the current host of I and the Bird. Really I should have contributed a post (and if memory serves me I missed another time she hosted the premiere carnival in the blogosphere), and I'm looking down at my shuffling feet while I think of a way to make up for my omissions.