Monday, June 26, 2006

Class, Class; Birds, Birds

Yesterday and today weren't all that fascinating, I'm afraid. Lots of work and library time. The upside is that I saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker and a female Rufous Hummingbird while I was on the phone in front of the dining facility. I haven't even been birding yet, just keeping my eyes open. I guess I'm cranking through the common birds one at a time, but since they're all new to me, it feels like a bonanza.

All the same, this place is far wilder than anywhere I've lived for an extended period of time. Animals who are sensitive to human encroachment simply can't swing it in the semi-wild parts of Maine like Bridgton or the presidential range in New Hampshire. Those forests have all been cut down at some point, and all the animals and birds are those hardy enough to re-settle. Here, we're on the very edge of human civilization, and the climate is incredibly fecund; it's essentially a cool rainforest. This part of Alaska sports the greatest array of ocean life (I haven't even gotten out there yet!), and the rainforest and cloudforest have never been cut down and regrown. There's old-growth forest right behind the school's rec center! I saw a porcupine on the way back from dinner yesterday, and he unconcernedly poked around in the bushes next to the path as we stood and watched him.

By the way, speaking of birds, there's any number of warblers of the yellowy-green variety that I simply have not been able to identify. They tend to dart right back into the brush when they see you, and yellowy-green is a great color for disappearing into a bush or tree. I guess they're responsible for the spectacular concert of birdsong you get when you sit outside. Speaking of which, it's rather sunny, so I think I'm going to hop off the computer and head back outdoors.

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