Saturday, August 15, 2009


The Wilson's Warblers are migrating through again; I love watching them. These took about two hours sitting quietly with a tripod.

Wilson's Warbler, female

Wilson's Warbler, male


A Wilson's Warbler launching into flight

And coming in for a swift landing

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fall, Berries, and Hornets

It's August; and while most people in this hemisphere are sweltering in the heat, fall has come to Alaska, with a definite chill in the air and the days growing shorter. I saw the moon a few nights ago for the first time that I can remember in months. The berries are ripe and the bears are moving into the mountains to eat them, so I can begin feeding the birds again. I have been picking a few berries myself this year, for making liqueurs rather than for jams and jellies like last year. A great website for liqueur recipes is here. Currents are my favorite, and sometimes you have to suffer a bit to get them, like the other day when I stepped on a hornets nest.

Having finished picking, I climbed to the top of the steep hill for the view and was just starting to make my way down when I felt a sharp pain on my pinky finger. I raised my hand and watched in shock as the hornet sitting there continued to dig its stinger in me. Tim always tells me "don't swat at them or they'll sting you" so for a moment I did nothing, those words ringing in my ears (don't swat, don't swat, what should I do, oh no, don't swat). Suddenly it occurred to me that the little bastard already was stinging me, and it hurt! I swatted him off and it was only then that I noticed I was being stung in the arm and shoulder and leg and a small swarm was forming around me. With a girly scream I began running down the steep, slippery hill, falling face first, tripping, sliding on my heels, and sliding on my butt the whole way down. You probably never saw me get down a hill so fast! But, I manged to keep my berries the whole way down! At the bottom, I stopped to breathe a sigh of relief, having outran the swarm. It was about then that the hornets got in the last word-one that had been stuck under my pack finally made his way to the center of my back where he decided to give me a parting shot!

Yesterday I processed about half of the berries into a triple recipe of current liqueur. I sure will enjoy it once its ready!