Tuesday, May 6, 2014

trip to Homer...a whole lot of of Bald Eagles...

 it is raining today which i am grateful for.  i can relax/chill and get some stuff done. when it's sunny outside you just feel obligated to get out there.  we needed the rain anyway. homer was great.  sunny and beautiful.  stayed at the Driftwood Inn out by Bishops Beach.  it's getting made over as the new old, old town.  guess it used to be city center decades ago. i like that the little hotel there is dog friendly in that it has these teeny tiny dog friendly rooms.  there was scattered bits of what appears to have been a sea lion all over the beach...these eagles were drawn to it.
 grew up going to California beaches and if anything washed up there it was removed quickly...kept sterile.  here there is so much wildlife that these carcasses remain where they wash up and the wildlife feeds on them.  unless it's a moose carcass in someones front yard or otherwise poses a bear risk, they will just post signs or get word out...moose kill.
 had taken some guests to crash at this hotel years ago.  i had told them how tiny the dog rooms were and they had said it sounded just perfect.  they ended up getting an additional non-dog room once they saw how small, small really was.
 first i stopped with the dogs around Portage.  this lake is easily accessible and i thought Blossom could use a good swim.  all these old tree stumps are there and they do appear to be walking to me.  my brother said that the below shot looks like they were running and the first tree tripped.
 they do lend themselves to black and white. the water is that color blue as it is glacier fed.so pretty
 Rio was happy to wade.  both dogs were totally wiped out when we got home last night.
 i love a drive, it's relaxing for me. open road, stop when you want.  the trees were greening up all over.  there were for sure patches of not green but i love that bright green that those fresh leaves have.  i think that was one down side to living on an island in Ketchikan, there is no chance of just getting in a car and driving for hours..you run out of road.
 after the swim we walked out towards byron glacier...i'm pretty sure that is the name.
 i never seem to get down to the Kenai this early as we are super early with our melt this year.  on the return trip i saw seemingly hundreds of bald eagles and loads of moose, especially between Soldotna and Homer.  lots of big eagle nests, i think the usual green just covers many of those in the summers.
 stopped to look at the Kenai lake and this building on the other side of the road caught my eye.
 that is the spit in Homer.  i have camped there a few times, but i do prefer just chilling in the more quiet Bishops beach area.  walk the dogs on the beach in the morning. it's a bit rocky is the only downside.
 Blossom was thrilled to be at the beach as was Rio.  she cracks me up as she heads right for the sound of the waves and then stands there letting the small waves crash into her.  every time we hit the beach she did that and there was no forward progression until she had her fill.
 we had a terribly sad occurrence in the village of Tananna.  two police officers were shot and killed.  it was so sad and senseless.  our village safety officers do not carry guns, there is changes being made to this presently, but for now they are still unarmed.  the troopers are called in when needed...the troopers must then fly or boat to these remote locations.
 the safety officer had confronted a guy who was driving without a license and the guy had pointed to his own gun and made threats.  the safety officers called in the troopers.  when they got there they went to confront the guy and he tried to run.  as they were apprehending him his son grabbed a gun and shot both officers to death.  such a huge loss.  the kid was supposedly a nice kid with good grades that clearly snapped in this situation and will no doubt spend the rest of his life in prison or a good portion of it.  two troopers are dead.
 the bodies were brought to Anchorage for examination and then they were escorted by caravan back to the airport.  one officer wrote basically a letter to the communities of Anchorage and Fairbanks for the respect that was shown this caravan as it passed with the bodies of these officers slain in the line of duty.  he had been impressed at the level of respect and compassion.  this sort of thing impacts everyone.  we don't often say it enough but we are grateful to have police and troopers out there trying to keep the peace in often impossible situations.  the things they must deal with and the risks they take to keep our communities as safe as possible.  i for one, am grateful for the job they do and the risks they take.  our state is huge and it is therefore even more challenging than most places.
 just being at the waters edge is relaxing.  the bald eagles were soaring all over. they are just amazing birds.
 i had hoped to get some cool sandhill crane shots, but despite seeing many birds and hearing them i never found a good spot to take pictures  of them.  my friend Cathy said i should have stayed at her place as she had 3-4 of them sitting in her yard there. i had left too last minute to try and intrude on her.  she's always welcoming though.  we did get together for a walk with the dogs at Bishops and she enjoyed the massive eagle sightings with me. she held the dogs so i could sneak closer for better shots...it was super stinky closer in as the eagles tore up the carcass.
 Cathy and i worked together in Ketchikan.  she and her family live in Homer and have for years....it seems a pretty sweet place to live.
 i haven't even looked at all my pictures yet.  there will be more to come.
 more wave action
 slept in today. the dogs seem happy for a lazy day. i'll get them out walking soon enough.  never saw the tree bear, i suspect she came out, saw how melted it all was and just headed out for the season.  perhaps next year.  nature is sometimes predictable but more often not.
 death penalty and prison have been in the news.  another botched death in a capital case.  it's not really that it bothers me that a murderer suffered in his last moments.  i'm not pro death penalty though.  mostly because it's so unfairly handed out, irreversible and just damn expensive to carry out.  so many appeals.  it's just cheaper to keep someone in prison for life than try to go through the process that is required.
 was thinking in general of prisons and my own version of three strikes.  i think anyone who commits violent acts should be put in a very unpleasant prison system.  those with non-violent cases get three tries to improve and then they would go to the unpleasant prison system as well.  the unpleasant system would not have tv's and gyms and for sure not have conjugal visits...who came up with that crap.  the only conjugal visit any prisoner should have is with their own hand.  food should also be unpleasant and repetitive.  the joys of life should be sucked out of the system as i think that would do more to prevent folks from wanted to repeat the acts.  i don't think the death penalty really prevents much until after the crime is committed and now the death penalty becomes an option.  then it seems prisoners may then give information to prevent themselves from dying.  anyway...that is my two cents...not that anyone cares.
 cellphone service has always been spotty in Kincaid park and i guess there are plans by AT&T to improve this. not sure where i'll try and walk today.  was thinking perhaps just up the airstrip and back.  easy.
 UAF is going to try a drone system in order to monitor their large animal research center...makes me wonder if this works out could it possible be used to monitor our walrus friends out at Round Island.
 the Nigerian girls are still missing. at least someone has come out claiming responsibility.  of course  it's an extremist Islamist group.  they are upset over girls getting educations.  educated women are so threatening to these people...just makes me want to make sure more girls get educated. they are threatening to sell them into marriages...of course, a forced marriage isn't a marriage it's slavery.  this happened weeks ago and it seems like it's taken the Nigerian government and the world quite some time to become outraged!
 seems polio has taken a hold in Pakistan Syria and Camaroon.  so sad that these diseases that were once iradicated have returned.  it's happening in the states as well due to parents who are afraid to vaccinate their kids. the tide seems to be turning though and other parents are getting angry at the non-vaccinaters.
 liked this old car, i always like old cars..i especially liked the doll layed out in the back window.  haha.
 the local art center with it's art display.  i'm all for art, especially if it means these old buoys came off of beaches where they had washed up.
 did see some emperor geese, but like the cranes they were too far off for decent photo's.

 here are the emperor geese below.
 the rest are eagles and there will no doubt be more eagles over the next post or two. i still need to look through my powershot photo's.  several people watched these eagles as the numbers kept growing, then some idiot that was partying on the beach decided to run right at the eagles.  the eagles all started to fly around and dispersed. the guy is an idiot and he was lucky one of those eagles didn't attack him and land on his head.  those talons would cause a nasty infection.
 birds congregating around the sea lion bits.
 so much aerial action the two days i was out on the Kenai, everywhere i looked the eagles were dancing in the skies.
 a guy got arrested in Sand point, a small community in southwest aleutians...he had heroin in his undies.  someone tipped off the police who met his flight.
 thought several of these eagle shots turned out pretty sweet.  so fun to photograph stuff like this.
 the guts were pretty stinky though. Cathy held my dogs but they eventually got antsy for my return, the idiot had run through the birds at that point anyway.
 i was pretty beat as the sun set that night around 10 so settled in for the night.
 i returned again in the morning with the dogs and took more eagle pictures, the numbers were not like they had been with these though.  so cool
 really liked this one below...can't even really tell how many eagles were involved, it was a pack at that point.

 the scene as they gathered.
 tried a few in black and white, but i liked the color best for these really.
 another cool shot of this guy.
 the guts all over are kinda gross, but that is what eagles eat, dead stuff, at least it's a good chunk of their diet when it's offered up to them.  it is amazing these regal birds, highly regarded, pulling guts off a carcass.
 fighting for intestines. it is funny i posted a few on my nat geo. i love to just see how the pictures go over on the international level. i posted one with the guts and one with just an eagle hovering over, no guts...the no guts one is clearly more popular.
 i think we all like to pretend that nature is more sterile than it is.  it's a pretty brutal world out there, animals take meals as they can to prevent starvation.  there ain't no supermarkets with meat in clear packages out there...
 i loved all the blood on the beaks and talons...so raw.
 tough birds.
thankful fors... 1.  a safe drive to/from Homer 2.  great travel companions in Blossom and Rio and 3.  always fun to see a friend...and yes Q this is the friend we were involved in a certain incident which will not be spoken of but did get a family together for holiday!! :-)  wink, wink!!

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm, I thought so.
    Bob went to the academy with one of the troopers that was killed. Very sad.