Monday, 4 July 2011

As High as a Flag on the 4th of July

United States of America 'Independence Day', and the whole State seems to be on the move. Traditionally it's a time for family so maybe there won't be too many people about - yeah and Pigs might!

At the time of writing I find myself a day in arrears on the Blog Posts but will rectify that tomorrow as we head down to Anchorage and then onward.

With a great deal of skill and no small amount of dexterity I managed to fix the Laptop, at least when I turned it on this evening and tried to 'log on' it did, so what else could it have been? After a fabulous farewell, accompanied by a glass or two of beer and wine, it was my 'forth' and final night with Warren and the Scott's and as they had a family function to attend I made my leave. However, not before Carol kindly, and once again, drove me to Creamer's Dairy via the Golden North Motel where I checked in and left my bag.

Just a quick ad before continuing, as this Motel is well worth a mention. Not exactly top of the range but family run, clean well appointed with a complimentary drop-off / pick-up from all the obvious locations. If you're going to Fairbanks I can guarantee you a cordial welcome here, thanks to Scott, Paul and their parents!

'Banding', or as we would put it 'ringing' (of birds), was planned for today, but it seemed for the same reason as my late departure the nets remained unfurled with the banding station deserted. We have certainly had our share of rain during my stay at the furthest north I am likely to travel this time, with the rivers swollen as the wet stuff runs off the mountain sides.

As far as birds were concerned it was a case of 'as you were' with just Olive-sided Flycatcher added to the Trip List but a species I have seen several times before. However, things started well with this Yellow Warbler darting from the Sedges

and posing right in front of me.

A new Moth for the list but there is little time to research such things, will have to leave that for those dark, cold winter's evenings. Can only imagine given shape, size and daytime flying that it is related to our 'Burnets?

I make this a Hermit Thrush, but if you disagree and can sort me out please send me an e-mail and put me right.

One thing is for certain they are mobile little devils, and while they do succumb to 'pishing' they don't linger long.

One of the Fritillaries?

and a Swallowtail Sp.

A couple of miles from the Farm House is a fairly large pond (small lake) which I had visited a couple of days ago without much luck. Thinking it worth running the gauntlet of a Million Mozzies, today this Beaver seemed to disregard my presence and started feeding close to the bank. Here are a few photies:-

When startled, they slap the water with their tail and submerge very quickly. Even though I remained still and silent it did this twice which was interesting to observe.

Standing there watching it, seemingly oblivious, it's no wonder they we so often turned into Davy Crockett hats (yes I know they were Raccoon but ya ken fit I mean).

Another Dragonfly before coming upon this family of

Red-necked Grebes

Unsure how to sex them, it was interesting to note that one was at least larger in size.

The youngsters 'hitching a lift' in true Grebe style, who do they think they are ME?

A hapless Cliff Swallow chick had fallen from its nest, but even at the Visitor's Center they didn't have a ladder so I placed it, hopefully, out of harms way on top of an electrical junction box.

Couldn't resist this 'head shot' of Mew Gull, smart eh?

Fairly close to a female American Wigeon.

It was soon time to leave so I headed for the bus stop in the hope of a ride back to town. After a full hour still none had arrived so I asked a passer by about the service. He had no idea but did give me a lift back to the Golden North despite living in the opposite direction. Before we pulled away there was another tremendous downpour, and as if in a final salute

These 2 Sandhill Cranes

flew overhead above this

In the evening I wandered down to Pioneer Park which boasts the best Salmon in town, and while it's probably my least favourite fish the prospect of as much as you can eat and drink for $30 did have a draw for me. Called the

yer pays yer money which gets you a fish shaped plate and you help yourself. There are plenty of salads, potatoes, bread rolls, but have to admit the whole place reminded me of a 'third world soup kitchen', but that's where the similarity ended!

Next you are attended to by this cheerful trio of Jeremy, 'Deli' Dave Luther (who tells me he is a direct descendant of Martin Luther) holding the wood cooked Salmon at a jaunty angle and Isak Quakenbush. Between them they made sure I need not return for seconds, and while making an analogy with a Soup Kitchen above, the food was of Michelin quality. Rarely have I eaten Prime Rib Beef so tender and tasty, only outshone by the (Bering Sea) line caught Cod which even outshone the Icelandic to which I am most familiar. Apologies to Vinny the Chip you've been 15 - 2'ed my mate!

A chance for a quick look at some of the hundreds of historical artifacts in the park

with the most interesting for me being the Nenana

an old Mississippi style 'Paddle-Wheeler'. Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' on a river (Proud Mary).

As in the past another fantastic time in Fairbanks, in most respects due to my new found friends - Thank You Again!