Emilys Cheetah (ponders the gossip about his spots) (Emilys Animals Book 5)

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Challenging Genres

It is the first reported wolf kill on California livestock since the s. That was the last time people saw wolves in California. Biologists for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated the scene in Siskiyou County following a report from a rancher in November They found "bloodied bone fragments at the spot where the wolves and carcass could be seen, as well as wolf scat containing cattle hair nearby," King reported.

Biologists just released a page report on the suspected wolf kill. The wolves responsible are part of what biologists have named the Shasta Pack. The seven wolves -- two adults and five pups -- are the only ones… read more Kenai bark beetles primed for another run Ed Berg has spent much of his life observing the natural happenings on a large peninsula the Kenai that juts from a larger peninsula Alaska. The retired ecologist who worked many years for the U. Fish and Wildlife Service has been around long enough he might see a second version of the most damaging insect attack in Alaska history.

The insect is the spruce bark beetle. About the size of a grain of rice, billions of the black specks attacked spruce trees of the Kenai Peninsula during the s.


Vivian Sming / Writing

Their larvae girdled trees, cut off their sugar supply and slowly killed them. Three million acres of spruce trees died, including the ones on Berg's property in Homer. After he and his wife Sara cleared the trees, their place didn't feel the same. They moved. Berg needed to know why the beetles attacked with such vigor. He thought about it, studied tree rings and other records of the past and combined that with a few decades of boots-on-the-ground observations.

He came up… read more Weird world of northern dinosaurs coming into focus During Patrick Druckenmiller's not-so-restful sabbatical year, he is flying to museums around the world. The more he squints at them and chats with experts, the more he thinks far-north dinosaurs are like Alaskans compared to other Americans: kind of the same, but a little off. The mini tyrannosaur, duck-billed swamp-stompers, armor-headed planteaters and other dinosaurs found in northern Alaska hint of a story that is theirs alone. That tale is separate from the one we learned as kids, told by fossils found in Montana, Alberta, Mongolia and other more-exposed and easier-to-get-to places.

Druckenmiller's examinations of the duckbilled dinosaurs found in Alberta led to the recent declaration… read more Flesh-eating bugs gorge in the name of science Aren Gunderson parks his truck, steps out and strips off his sweatshirt. Gunderson, mammal collection manager at the museum, approaches a weathered set of buildings.

He swings open a door. The dermestid beetles are housed about one mile from the museum. A scan of the room shows varied carcasses on their way to becoming skeletons. A baby killer whale in a box. A racing husky in a plastic tote. In a gallon barrel, a grizzly killed in defense of life and property. Its jaws, wrists and toe bones point to the ceiling. The visual is stirring, but a scent like leather and candy and hot springs makes breathing difficult.

I like it. Using a spritzer bottle, Gunderson squirts the bones of the… read more Pioneer songbird meets an early snowstorm As piles of wet snow fell, an unexpected guest rapped at the window. My wife, Kristen, heard it bump into the glass. She was soon cupping in her hands a delicate bird she saw perched on the windowsill. Kristen is a bird biologist, but I was surprised at her identification. Mighty little ruby-crowned kinglets belt out their big songs in our woods each spring, but golden-crowns do not appear north of the Alaska Range on any maps of where the birds live.

Neither of us remember seeing one here before. That little refugee was a fun mystery during a storm that deposited more than a foot of wet snow on our patch of boreal forest in less than one day. Kristen mixed some sugar and water in a Nalgene cap and touched a few droplets to the stunned bird's beak. Soon, she felt movement in… read more Urban ermine inspires weasel-related questions While talking with two friends just inside a university entranceway, I saw a creature scampering in our direction just outside the glass doors. My first though was of a misdirected red squirrel running on the concrete.

But this guy was longer, and bounded like a Slinky. A weasel! We went outside and staked out the area, waiting for it to emerge from a crack between metal trim and the concrete. After a few minutes, it poked its head and torso from the 2-inch gap. Then it squeezed out, paused between us without fear and boinged past us to greenery. Since then, I have heard of several more weasel sightings. Bob, who was there at the university, saw one in his woodpile a few days later. Link Olson is not calling this the year of the weasel, but the curator of mammals at the University of Alaska Museum has gotten "a ton" of calls from people reporting lots of voles, including the easy-to-identify yellow-cheeked vole.

An abundance of the weasel's frequent meal makes… read more Wood bison finding home in Alaska These nights, Tom Seaton is dreaming less about red-brown, steaming, humpbacked hulks. He's also getting more sleep, knowing dozens of wood bison that galloped to freedom behind his snowmachine last spring are wandering new country, munching grass and having babies. So far so good in the attempt to stock Alaska with a giant that vanished from the swamps not long ago. He is head of a project in which wood bison are now roaming the low grass and sedge country near the village of Shageluk.

Shageluk is a village of people on the Innoko River. In this "intense monitoring stage," Seaton recently flew out to the new herd to sample portions of their bison patties, in order to see what they are eating. He issued this report on the creatures, most of which had been living for years in captivity at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation… read more Red-backed voles climb into scientific literature A few years ago, Link Olson wanted students in his mammalogy class to see one of the neatest little creatures in Alaska, the northern flying squirrel. He baited a few live traps with peanut butter rolled in oats and placed them in spruce trees.

When he returned the next day, he found no flying squirrels. Instead, peering back at him were the beady eyes of the mice of the north, red-backed voles. The curator of mammals at the University of Alaska Museum, Olson knew a bit about northern red-backed voles. He thought back to the few vole papers he had read and did not remember a sentence about their ability to climb.

A search led to just two references.

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One is a mention from author and biologist Ron Smith in his book about Alaska natural history: "This vole has been seen in trees. Olson wanted to document the northern red-backed vole's climbing in a science journal. The wire he was using to cut the mud stopped when it hit something solid. He grabbed a knife, carved around the obstruction, and made a discovery. Suspecting the pinky-size fragment of a toothy creature was thousands of years old, Wooller ran it up to the UA Museum of the North. There, experts could tell him whether the bone was fish or fowl.

Andres Lopez, curator of fishes, recognized the jawbone of a northern pike, a duck-billed, needle-toothed super predator among freshwater fishes. I have never seen this before," Wooller said. Here for a meteorite search with an astronomer, I have helicoptered into a place humming with life. This dark spot on the nighttime map of North America is not always in this active state, with the squeak of bank swallows overhead and passing bumblebees so heavy with pollen they fly like water balloons.

A few months ago, this gray river was hard as a stone. An online thermometer nearby registers a dependable minus 50 F every winter. In early summer, the air is perfumed with blooming purple lupine and pink wild sweet pea. Songbirds sing from every direction — tiny warblers, thrushes and sparrows have flooded the spruce and spongy ground beneath them.

In the past few days, meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens, Fairbanks… read more Rafts of birds overwintering in the Bering Sea Like flecks of pepper on chowder, all of the spectacled eiders on the planet are now gathered amid sea ice and steaming open leads in the Bering Sea. Lawrence Island. He has some ideas about why these "footballs with feathers" are now crowded into cracks in pack ice when other migrants are picking insects off palm trees.

First, some recent history. In the late s, biologists noticed a lack of spectacled eiders in the summertime tundra nesting places the birds prefer. The decline was so steep that U. Fish and Wildlife Service officials listed the birds as threatened in Wanting to know more, biologists captured birds during their brief egg… read more Alaska blackfish in a world of its own Imagine a shallow lake north of Hughes, in the cold heart of Alaska. In frigid, sluggish water, dim blue light penetrates two feet of ice. The ice has a quarter-size hole, maintained by a stream of methane bubbles.

Every few minutes, a brutish little fish swims up, sips air, and peels back to the dank. The Alaska blackfish is an evolutionary loner that fins through lakes and tundra ponds across much of the state.

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  • It exists nowhere else, except just across Bering Strait in Siberia. Not much larger than a banana, the fish is different from others in the state because in addition to gathering oxygen through its gills, it can pull it from free air. Though many fish have the ability to breathe air, most of them live in the tropics.

    The Alaska blackfish's ability to gulp the same air as you and me has allowed it to occupy stagnant northern pools that kill other fish. When ice seals off small lakes and the stocked rainbow trout goes belly up, the blackfish guts it out. Some biologists hang from ropes to study birds. Many rise painfully early in the morning. Stacia Backensto disguised herself as a man. Her study subject was ravens, and she took to wearing a moustache because they seemed to recognize her as she roamed the industrial landscape. She tried to fool the birds by posing as an oilfield worker.

    To play the part, she tucked her black hair below a ballcap and wore Carhartts overalls. Thinking that was not enough, she stuck on a fake moustache. During her fieldwork, she spent much of her summer at oilfield camps… read more High-tech bird decoy fools flycatchers Julie Hagelin needed a fake bird. She found one in an unexpected place. The bird, which weighs as much as a dozen pennies and migrates as far as Bolivia, is declining throughout most of its range in North America.

    No one knows exactly where the birds go after they breed in the far north. When the birds return in spring, the biologists recover the tiny devices. They then extrapolate where the birds have been from daylight the geolocators record while exposed to sunlight. She knows the most effective way of… read more Tracking salmon to their birth streams Strontium is a trace element and mineral people use to make glow-in-the-dark paints and toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

    The Nushagak, a river swelling with the bodies of salmon right now, drains the Nushagak Hills as well as the Alaska and Aleutian ranges. The Nushagak and all its fingers provide a path for salmon from their natal streams to Bristol Bay. Brennan first had the idea of tracking salmon using strontium during his training in stable isotope ecology at the University of Utah. He was impressed people were able to break substances down to the atom level in order to follow salmon populations in California.

    He wondered if he could use stable isotope… read more Migrating Alaska sparrow perform despite lack of sleep Each fall, white-crowned sparrows hop off branches in Alaska and begin journeys toward California, Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas. On their trip of several weeks, flying mostly at night, the tiny songbirds may cut back on their sleep by two-thirds. White-crowned sparrows are a few inches tall, with a gray body, brown wings and tail, and black and white stripes in the pattern of a bicycle helmet on their heads.

    Their seven-note song is a sign of spring for many northerners. Niels Rattenborg of the University of Wisconsin at Madison visited Fairbanks on summer with a mist net and captured 30 white-crowned sparrows near ponds off South Cushman Street and near his hotel on the Chena River. He brought those birds back to Madison, where scientists watched the caged birds.

    They found that the birds were… read more The mystery of 53 dead caribou in the Alaska Range Forty-two years ago, an Army helicopter pilot flying over a tundra plateau saw a group of caribou. Thinking something looked weird, he circled for a closer look. The animals, dozens of them, were dead. The pilot reported what he saw to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    The caribou, 48 adults and five calves, were lying in a group. The way their carcasses rested showed no signs that the animals had been running from a predator. As word spread of the 53 dead caribou, people speculated what might have killed them: Nerve gas, toxic waste or some other dark secret from the Army post nearby, flying saucers, maybe a lightning strike?

    Shaw had studied lightning before. While that definition applies to Adak, Shemya, Wales and a few other cool places south of the circle and excludes Umiat with a long-term July temperature average of Time for a walk to work. The season has changed since February, the last time I wrote about walking through the North Campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    The spruce-dominated forest, bordered on all sides by asphalt roads, is lined with a few trails and patches cleared for science projects. In great contrast to February, May is a time of life here. Then, the sun squatted low, projecting blue-white light that seemed to carry no heat. Now, all the snow crystals have melted into cool water that evaporated, flowed away or pooled in low spots. Above the forest floor, solar panels unfold by the billions. Today, the population of Toolik Field Station increases from nine -- five people running the camp, three scientists and me -- to Seven support staff members are making the hour drive north from Fairbanks.

    Starting tomorrow, Toolik Field Station will be in summer mode until September. During the next few months people will sleep in dorm-style buildings, weatherports and tents as they study ground squirrels, permafrost, plants, fish and other far-north mysteries. At the peak of action here in mid-July, more than scientists will clomp the gravel in rubber boots. People have pondered things here on the treeless tundra since , when the National Science Foundation funded research on nearby Toolik Lake, a splotch on the map that takes… read more On the track of the wolverine As I skied on a frozen river, a hairy creature trotted toward me.

    When the wolverine spotted me, it popped up in the air like an antelope, landed like a cat, and bounced away into the high country of the Wrangell Mountains. The few biologists who have studied wolverines in Alaska say they are exceptional creatures. Magoun said she loves to study wolverines because so little is known about them. The creature became known to the world in mid-March , when Texas-based dinosaur hunters Tony Fiorillo and Ron Tykoski unveiled it in a scientific journal.

    Fiorillo and Tykoski named the dinosaur. Fiorillo is curator of earth sciences at the museum and a frequent visitor to Alaska. Tykoski is the fossil preparator at the museum. Like the polar bear, Nanuqsaurus was in its day the dominant meat-eater of the far north.

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    The prehistoric North Slope was a green plain spilling beneath the baby Brooks Range with a climate that could have been something between Portland and Calgary today. Kimberlee Beckmen, wildlife veterinarian, wears a white lab coat and purple gloves. Beckmen, who just finished a necropsy on an arctic fox that had been hit by a truck on the Dalton Highway, leans in on a wolf found dead on a trail east of Fairbanks.

    She checked her database this morning, she says. More than wolves have been on her table in the 12 years she has worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Many of those wolves had been trapped or shot. The cream-colored wolf now before Beckmen died of an unknown cause. Biologists Tom Paragi and Mike Taras sledded in the frozen wolf a few miles from where it had dropped on a snowmachine trail and lay until a dog musher discovered it. A hint of wet-dog smell fills the room.

    Before she begins cutting, Beckmen says this wolf is a female, about five years old… read more Mystery of the South Fork wolf The wolf is no longer stuck to the trail, as it was when the dog musher drove her reluctant team over it. Now covered with snow, the frozen animal is a few steps away, beneath small spruce trees near the South Fork of the Chena River. The only exposed part of its body — a bushy tail — points to the sky.

    Since the musher discovered the dead wolf a few days ago, someone moved the carcass — maybe the trapper who passed the biologists on his snowmachine as they skied here. He discovered the wolf yesterday and was returning today to cut off its head, he said. When the trapper paused to chat, he learned the biologists wanted to retrieve the wolf and have a veterinarian determine how it died. At the carcass, Tom Paragi levers the wolf — its stiff legs reaching like a dog in full stretch — out of the snowbank and back onto the trail.

    She asked the man at the display if he realized why the store should not be selling it. No, he said, but customers had told him the cold-water, fatty fish tastes good. There, she and her colleagues study icefish that live in the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean. The pale,… read more Grinding fish heads for the goodness within NIKISKI — In a chilly building across Cook Inlet from the white pyramid of Mount Redoubt rest a few dozen plastic-lined cardboard totes filled to the brim with an amber liquid.

    Each chest-high cube holds about a ton of fish oil extracted this summer from the heads of salmon. Simpson, 49, is a fisherman-turned-entrepreneur who has for the past few summers purchased salmon heads from fish processors who do business here in this small industrial town north of the Kenai River. Not for himself, though he would savor the memories, but for all the kids who had helped him do science since the s. The U. Geological Survey biologist has executed on that project, working with talented colleagues to create a book with pictures of dozens of smiling teenagers from the small western Alaska village of Chevak.

    The children helped biologists gather and band geese and swans each August from to The lovely volume shows a rare long-term collaboration between villagers and scientists who were there to look at the problem of declining numbers of geese returning to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in the s and s. Banding Together to Learn and Preserve is the effort of Ely, who studies large waterfowl out of Anchorage, where you can find him in winter. Professors had told her that small mammals make themselves scarce under the light of the moon, lest they become a meal for a predator that spotted them.

    But Prugh had no choice. She had so many study plots at Carrizo Plain National Monument she needed to set out her traps every night she could. That result led Prugh, now a wildlife ecologist with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, to look a bit deeper. She recently coauthored a paper in which she compared the kangaroo rat study to other projects involving night animals and moonlight.

    She found that nocturnal creatures that use their eyes as their primary line of defense were quite active under moonlight. The creatures that… read more Visiting bats and the hot maggots of autumn After she read a column on Alaska bats, Pat Holloway of Fairbanks sent me a photo of a little brown bat that made it into her house this summer.

    It surprised her, as bats tend to do when they appear in your home. After she stopped shrieking and ushered the bat out through an open screen, she searched her house the point of entry. In her loft, Holloway saw a screen with a crack at its corner no wider than a pencil. She figures the bat landed on the screen and crawled until it found the slit. Joe Page of Talkeetna wrote that bats have roosted in the roof of his house for the past 20 years. Though he likes them, he is ready for the bats to stop cohabitating.

    In summer, he sometimes hears them rustling in his roof insulation. Three planes with bellies full of fire retardant swooped low, then banked over the mountain behind his home. Rupp, 46, leads two lives in his home of interior Alaska. The biologist and educator then placed a ruby-crowned kinglet in the flat palm of a six-year old boy.

    The thumb-size songbird was probably born in northern Alaska this spring. During the past hour of its brief life which will last about 4 years , it had a tiny metal band clamped around its ankle. Then it burst into flight. The boy and 20 of his classmates watched the bird flutter upward and land on the branch of a nearby birch tree. After a few seconds of preening, the kinglet shot off in the direction of Mexico. Blake, who in January started the Alaska Songbird Institute with April Harding Scurr, told the children one of their… read more Fifty years of far-north biology While waiting for the talking to begin in darkened auditoriums, I sometimes scan the room, counting heads.

    And her. One example is where chickadees roost during winter often in tiny holes in birch trees, Susan Sharbaugh found.

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    Another is that our rugged version of Alaska wood frogs can survive colder temperatures than Lower 48 wood frogs, which live as far south as Georgia Brian Barnes and his physiology class uncovered that one. Barnes, who also… read more A continent of ice on the wane Despite taking up as much space as Australia, the blue-white puzzle of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is an abstraction to the billions who have never seen it.

    But continued shrinkage of sea ice is changing life for many living things. A few Alaska scientists added their observations to a recent journal article on the subject. Eric Post of Penn State University, a former graduate student who studied caribou at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is the lead author on the paper. When sea ice hit its minimum extent in the satellite era about a year ago, it got him thinking about how the loss… read more Life recycled on a far-off gravel bar At the approach of a canoe, the wolverine tears into the woods, its claws spitting mud.

    Seconds later, ravens explode from what resembles two branches reaching from a driftwood log. After the animals flee the Fortymile River gravel bar, the driftwood turns into chewed velvet antlers the size of a folding chair. A fleshy backbone ropes from a skull, extending to rib fragments and a blade of hipbone, its sockets empty.

    A few tufts of hide lay amid rocks, but the rest of the caribou — so fresh it barely smells — has vanished. How could a pound animal disappear so fast? Seven wolves, a pack that includes two parents and two pups born in early June, spot a young caribou limping toward the Fortymile River. As the caribou, its right front leg injured in a fall, enters the water to swim across, the pack holds. When the caribou emerges dripping on their side of the river,… read more Tiny, ancient life discovered in Southeast In a world crawling with insects, those billions of tiny bodies fall into just 30 major descriptive groups, known as orders.

    Why is that? Adler is interested in the latter element, so much so that he waded through streams of western Alaska and far-east Russia a few years ago, finding and describing the black flies and mosquitoes of the region. He undertook the expedition because he was curious, and because no one had in detail cataloged the biting flies of the former land mass known as Beringia, now cleaved in two by the Bering Strait.

    Armed with his field kit, which consists of… read more Alaska mosquitoes spreading malaria in birds Thousands of Alaska mosquitoes are now on sabbatical at the University of California, Davis. They are not pestering suntanned Californians. Researchers are analyzing their tiny corpses to see if the parasites that cause malaria are inside them. During the last two summers, Ravinder Sehgal and his colleagues captured those mosquitoes in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Coldfoot. The San Francisco State University disease ecologist is part of a team that discovered malaria in several year-round resident birds in both Fairbanks and Anchorage but not in Coldfoot in and Seven people kneel and then squint into a blue-white opening in the snow.

    We see tiny cigars, evidence that a red-backed or meadow vole had indeed paused there. Taras was correct — this was the first time most of us had seen vole poop in a snow tunnel. Teachers from around Alaska attended to soak up lesson ideas they might share with their students. The most accessible teaching laboratory for many of the teachers is just outside the door, Taras said. Tracking animals in snow and soil, a skill our species has lost over time, requires problem solving and teamwork. As word spread of the 53 dead caribou, people speculated what might have killed them: Nerve gas, toxic waste or some other dark secret from the Army post nearby, flying saucers?

    She lifted her head to scan the horizon, wary of bears that might be attracted to the flesh of a creature that gasped its last breath 40, years ago. In the type of discovery they have dreamed about for years, Groves and Dan Mann, both researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in summer found in the thawing bank of a northern river almost the entire skeleton of a steppe bison that died during the last ice age.

    In adventurous work sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, Mann and Groves have been boating down lonely northern rivers for 15 years looking for scattered bones of ice age mammals, always hoping to find a complete skeleton or mummy of a mammoth, horse, or American lion. At the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, biologist George Divoky had 15 minutes to present his lifetime of work with a bird that adapted to year-round life in the Arctic during the last ice age.

    Divoky led off a lecture session on Barrow-area research by describing his four decades of studying birds that probably would not exist without his efforts — the black guillemots of Cooper Island, Alaska. In the early s, the biologist found a small colony of the birds on a gravel island in the Beaufort Sea about 25 miles northwest of Barrow. Black guillemots were breeding in nest cavities in wood debris left by the U.

    Navy in the s. Divoky created more nests by rearranging other pieces of wood. These seabirds, crazy-eyed and with bodies both sleek and clumsy, need solid ground for just a few months to hold their eggs. When their summer mission is complete, the birds scatter to the vastness of the sea. The temporary human population on Hall Island is six — five biologists and me.

    We are intruding on a five-mile-long apostrophe occupied by birds in summer and padded upon year-round by a few arctic foxes that eat voles and birds and bird eggs and who-knows-what in winter. The only signs of people here are a collection of small World War II-era batteries on the interior tundra and a dark green square of turf that might show where a few Russians and their Aleut slaves dug in for a winter in the early s. The biologists are here for a periodic check on the seabirds, using a protocol they follow on islands throughout the… read more Dipper swims throughout Alaska winters On the upper Chena River in the heart of a cold winter, a songbird appeared on a gravel bar next to gurgling water that somehow remained unfrozen in below zero air.

    Then the bird jumped in, disappeared underwater, and popped up a few feet upstream. The bird continued snorkeling and diving against the current of the stream, which is so far north that in December direct sunlight never touches it, instead bathing only the tops of spruce trees with a ruby light. Soon, two other dark birds with bodies the size of tennis balls landed near the other. Bending from their knees, they bobbed up and down and then all three jumped into the stream.

    It seemed crazy behavior for a cold winter day, but swimming is how American dippers make their living, even here in Alaska, where they range as far north as the Brooks Range. Mary Willson, a biologist, ecologist and consultant from Juneau, might be the only Alaska researcher who has studied the American dipper. She has pulled… read more Mystery wolf didn't survive in Alaska An Alaska wolf that disappeared about 12, years ago just made another appearance. The Alaska DNA samples came from bones and skulls exposed by Fairbanks miners as they tore away frozen soil to get at gold-bearing gravels beneath.

    Staff members of the American Museum of Natural History came to Fairbanks from the s to the s to gather the bones and bring them back to the museum in New York. With a trained eye for the impressions dinosaurs pressed into mud millions of years ago, Tomeo walked to a large boulder in the middle of a landslide.

    Tomeo snapped a picture of the track and sent it to Tony Fiorillo, a dinosaur hunter from the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas who often travels to Alaska. Fiorillo was intrigued. The track looked like that of a therizinosaur, a tall, feathered meat-eater with sickle-like claws that extended a few feet from the three fingers of each hand. From head… read more A voyage to St. Matthew Fifty-five summers ago, when Dave Klein first stepped on St.

    Matthew Island, driftwood on the beaches held no plastic bottles and hundreds of reindeer roamed the tundra hills. Klein, along with a group of scientists and one non-scientist me! Matthew from the island of St. Paul, about miles and 24 hours away. Refuge biologists try to return to the island every five years or so, but St. Matthew — north of the Pribilof Islands and south of St. He shared the image with me, and, now, with you. He programmed them to snap one picture every 15 minutes from April 24 to May He wanted to record the great spring migrations of creatures large caribou and small ptarmigan.

    The latest examples are the stone footprints of two different dinosaurs near the tiny settlement of Chisana in the Wrangell Mountains. Fiorillo, a dinosaur hunter with the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, recently wrote of the foot impressions of a large plant-eater and small meat-eater in the science journal Cretaceous Research. Fiorillo is a yearly summer visitor to Alaska who seems to discover something exciting on every trip.

    Fiorillo had read about prehistoric plant fossils that others found in a streambed near Chisana. That type of vegetation in… read more Magpies a more common sight throughout Alaska A while back, Ron Koczaja was walking a riverbank in Kasigluk with a village elder when a large, striking bird perched on a powerline.

    Koczaja, a math teacher at Ryan Middle School in Fairbanks, remembered this exchange from his first assignment in the Bush, about 14 years ago. He found it interesting that, in the thousands of years people had spoken Yupik in Southwest Alaska, their language had no word for magpie. The lack of a term for the black-billed magpie may be because the bird was not in Southwest Alaska until recently.

    The long-tailed relative of ravens and jays seems to be extending its range throughout Alaska. Since , biologists at the Alaska Bird Observatory have tracked sightings of magpies in the far north. Reports of… read more Lone wolf's days of wandering are over Thanks to information from a collar that communicated with satellites, a biologist has closed the book on the long journey of a male wolf that left its pack last one year ago and wandered thousands of miles through northern Alaska.

    When I last wrote about the wolf in August , the silvery black creature was somewhere in the rolling tundra east of Deadhorse, having traveled more than 1, miles from its former home in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve on the Yukon River last summer. Wolves from… read more "Snow Mosquitoes" the First Wave of Summer Irritants After researching the mealtime mechanisms of mosquitoes, I've come up with a fool-proof plan to keep the bloodsuckers off me this summer.

    Third, I won't exhale while I'm in the woods. Failing the above, I'll hope Richard "Skeeter" Werner's prediction proves true. Werner, a research entomologist one who studies insects with the Institute of Northern Forestry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says the lack of snow cover last fall along with subzero temperatures may have killed bunches of hibernating mosquitoes.

    Like many hibernating insects, overwintering mosquitoes depend on supercooling, a process by which an animal has the ability to rid its body fluids of… read more Wind-aided birds on their way north. After flying northward from Chile, a whimbrel landed in late March in an alfalfa field near Mexicali, Mexico. The handsome shorebird with a long curved beak left its wintering ground in South America one week earlier and flew more than 5, miles. In one of the great migrations happening all over the world right now, the bird is heading to northern Alaska.

    If you select two or more check boxes within a single category, you will only get books that meet the combined criteria. You can combine the checkboxes with a search term in the box above, OR you can just use checkboxes to conduct a search. Then click on "Advanced Search. Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow. Quilted Landscape: Conversations with Young Immigrants.

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    Emilys Cheetah (ponders the gossip about his spots) (Emilys Animals Book 5) Emilys Cheetah (ponders the gossip about his spots) (Emilys Animals Book 5)

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