A Great Trip Needs An Extraordinary Destination ...Hallo Bay? ABSOLUTELY

Friday, January 31, 2014


The beaver is North America's largest rodent. The beaver's scientific name is descriptive of the castor glands which are located near the base of the tail. Castor is a strong-smelling, oily substance that beavers use to communicate through scent marking. It also is attractive to many animals and has been used in trapping lures and as a base for perfume.
Beavers in the wild live about 10 to 12 years. They have been known to live as long as 19 years in captivity. They continue to grow throughout their lives and may reach 3 to 4 feet (0.9–1.2 m) long, including tail. Although most adult beavers weigh 40 to 70 pounds (17–32 kg), very old, fat beavers can weigh as much as 100 pounds (45 kg).
The beaver's heavy chestnut brown coat over warm, soft underfur keeps the animal comfortable in all temperatures. It has large, webbed feet and a broad, black tail (about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide or 25 cm long and 15 cm wide) that can be used as a rudder when swimming. When slapped against the water it serves as a warning, but it can signal other emotions as well. When the beaver stands up on its hind legs to cut down a tree, the tail is like a fifth leg used for balance.
The beaver is designed to swim and work under water. When submerged, nictitating membranes protect its eyes and its nose and ear valves close. A beaver also can cut and carry submerged wood without getting water in its mouth by drawing its loose lips tightly behind the protruding front teeth.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sea Urchin

The mouth of the urchin is on the bottom (oral) part of the test. Food is chewed by 5 teeth which are part of a complex mechanism called Aristotle’s lantern. The chewed food then moves through the esophagus, stomach, and then intestine. When food enters the intestine and forms round pellets which are later excreted through the anus, which is at the top (aboral) side of the test.

Red sea urchin larvae feed on microorganisms using cilia to sweep them into their mouths. As juveniles, sea urchins feed on diatoms and smaller food. Adults feed primarily on kelp (especially Nereocystis or Macrocystis) but can eat sessile invertebrates. Often forms large subtidal aggregations in or near kelp beds.
During reproduction, red sea urchins aggregate together.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Pairs bond sometime during the winter flock period and begin to build a nest by late May. The nests are located in holes in trees. Usually the female begins excavating the cavity with some assistance from the male. The nest itself is built of soft materials, like hair, fur, and a few feathers, on a base of dry moss. The female alone lines the nest while the male remains nearby. Egg laying, in clutches of one to 11 eggs, begins two or three days later.
As the female incubates the eggs, the male enters the hole only to feed the female. Most eggs hatch at 15 days. The female eats the egg shells, some believe for the calcium. Both parents feed the young and fledging normally occurs within 18 days. The young stay with their parents for another two weeks after fledging and subsequently disperse.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


During the fall and winter, moose consume large quantities of willow, birch, and aspen twigs. In some areas, moose actually establish a “hedge” or browse line 6-8 feet above the ground. In the spring, moose also graze, in addition to browsing. During the summer, moose feed on forbs, vegetation in shallow ponds, and the leaves of birch, willow and aspen.

Moose can generally be found all across the northern forests of North America, Europe, and Russia. In Alaska, moose live in a large area ranging from the Stikine River in Southeast Alaska all the way to the Colville River on the Arctic Slope. They are especially abundant on timberline plateaus; along the major rivers of Southcentral and Interior Alaska; and in recently burned areas that have generated dense stands of willow, aspen, and birch shrubs.

Most moose make seasonal movements to calving, rutting, and wintering areas. They travel anywhere from only a few miles to as many as 60 miles during these transitions.

Monday, January 20, 2014


  1. An average size wolf produces roughly 1.2 cubic inches of sperm.
  2. Wolves evolved from an ancient animal called Mesocyon, which lived approximately 35 million years ago. It was a small dog-like creature with short legs and a long body. Like the wolf, it may have lived in packs.
  3. Wolves can swim distances of up to 8 miles (13 kilometers) aided by small webs between their toes.
  4. Between 1883 and 1918, more than 80,00 wolves were killed in Montana for bounty.
  5. Adolph Hitler (whose first name means “lead wolf”) was fascinated by wolves and sometimes used “Herr Wolf” or “Conductor Wolf” as an alias. “Wolf’s Gulch” (Wolfsschlucht), “Wolf’s Lair” (Wolfschanze), and “Werewolf” (Wehrwolf) were Hitler’s code names for various military headquarters.
  6. In the 1600s, Ireland was called “Wolf-land” because it had so many wolves. Wolf hunting was a popular sport among the nobility, who used the Irish wolfhound to outrun and kill wolves. The earliest record of an Irish wolfhound dates from Roman times in A.D. 391.
  7. Recent scientists suggest that labeling a wolf “alpha” or “omega” is misleading because “alpha” wolves are simply parent wolves. Using “alpha” terminology falsely suggests a rigidly forced permanent social structure.
  8. Biologists have found that wolves will respond to humans imitating their howls. The International Wolf Center in Minnesota even sponsors “howl nights” on which people can howl in the wilderness and hope for an answering howl.
  9. Wolves have historically been associated with sexual predation. For example, Little Red Riding Hood, who wears a red cape that proclaims her sexual maturity, is seduced off the moral path by a wolf. The sex link endures in common clichés, such as describing a predatory man as “a wolf” or a sexy whistle as a “wolf whistle.”
  10. Biologists describe wolf territory as not just spatial, but spatial-temporal, so that each pack moves in and out of each other's turf depending on how recently the “no trespassing” signals were posted.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Northern Red-backed Vole

Voles are rodents that have fuzzy coats and short tails. They mainly live in and eat grass. They are scientifically distinguished from other Alaska mice by having the grinding surfaces of the molars flat-crowned with an enamel pattern composed of alternating triangles. Seven species of voles occur in Alaska.
There are two genera of voles in Alaska within the family Muridae. The red-backed voles (Clethrionmys) have a grayish pelage on their undersides and reddish or rusty-colored backs. These rodents are small, weighing 6–42 grams, and ranging from 130–158 mm in length.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bird Facts

  1. The bird that lays the smallest egg in the world is the bee hummingbird. Its egg is just under 0.5" x 0.25" and weighs a mere 0.02 oz.
  2. The ostrich lays the biggest egg in the world. It measures 7" x 5" and weighs 3 pounds. However, the biggest egg for the size of the mother is laid by the kiwi and is a third of the weight of the bird. It is 5" long and can weigh as much as 1 lb. This would be the equivalent of an ostrich laying an 88 lb. (40 kg.) egg.
  3. The Malleefowl is famed for making a huge compost pile for its nest. Its eggs are incubated by the heat given off by the rotting vegetation.
  4. Social weaverbirds live in huge communal nests that look like a huge haystack spread across a treetop. Some nests can weigh a few tons, have over 400 birds living in them, and may be 100 years old.
  5. The heaviest bird of prey is the Andean condor. It can weigh up to 27 lb. (12 kg.).
  6. The most common wild bird in the world is the red-billed Quelea, with an estimated adult breeding population of 1.5 billion pairs. It mostly lives in sub-Saharan Africa and thousands of birds can be in a single flock. The most common non wild bird is the chicken.
  7. Many scientists believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era about 150 million years ago.
  8. In the United States alone, there are over 40 million pet birds.
  9. A bird’s feathers weigh more than its skeleton.
  10. The type of diet a bird eats in the wild is directly related to the shape of a bird’s beak.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Alaska Facts

  1. Alaska's geographic center is 60 miles northwest of Mount McKinley.
  2. The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States.
  3. 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska.
  4. At 20,320 feet above sea level, Mt. McKinley, located in Alaska's interior, is the highest point in North America.
  5. The state's largest city is Anchorage; the second largest is Fairbanks.
  6. The Alaska Range is the largest mountain chain in the state. It covers from the Alaska Peninsula to the Yukon Territory.
  7. In 1915 the record high temperature in Alaska was 100 degrees Fahrenheit at Fort Yukon; the record low temperature was -80 degrees Fahrenheit at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971.
  8. The Alaskan malamute sled dog is strong and heavily coated. It was developed as a breed by a group of Eskimos named the Malemiuts.
  9. Alaska's name is based on the Eskimo word Alakshak meaning great lands or peninsula.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Goodall Quotes

"I became totally absorbed into this forest existence.  It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all.  But I was far too busy learning about the chimpanzees lives to worry about the meaning of my own.  I had gone to Gombe to accomplish a specific goal, not to pursue my early preoccupation with philosophy and religion.  Nevertheless, those months at Gombe helped to shape the person I am today-I would have been insensitive indeed if the wonder and the endless fascination of my new world had not had a major impact on my thinking.  All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around.  For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected.  The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare.  They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bear Spirit Names

Spirit Names

In many cultures, the bear was looked upon with such reverence that members of the culture were not allowed to speak the word for "bear". Instead, they referred to the animal with varied and creative euphemisms. These euphemisms are related here. The general catagory refers to names that were wide-spread through several native American groups. Many cultures found a spiritual kinship with the bears, and speaking the name of the animal would bring swift retribution from the gods.
  • Angry One (Cree)
  • The Animal (Michikaman)
  • Apple of the Forest (Finn)
  • Big Great Food (Cree)
  • Big Hairy One (Blackfoot)
  • Black Food (Cree)
  • Broadfoot (Estonian)
  • Dark Thing (Koyukon)
  • Divine One Who Rules the Mountains (Ainu)
  • Dweller in the Wilds (Ostyak)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sea Otter

Sea Otters

Sea otters forage in relatively shallow coastal waters. They dive to the bottom to catch their prey and surface to eat their food. The dives generally last 1–2 minutes, but they can hold their breath for over 5 minutes. Dive depths range from 5-250 feet. Upon surfacing, the otter will roll onto its back and place the food on their chests. They eat using their front paws and will use tools, such as rocks (which they store under their "arm pit" while diving), to crack open shells. Their main prey species include sea urchins, crabs, clams, mussels, octopus, fish, and other marine invertebrates. Sea otter teeth are adapted for crushing hard-shelled invertebrates such as clams, urchins, and crabs.
Sea otters rely on their high metabolism and their plush coat to keep warm. However, this high metabolism requires them to eat a lot of food. In order to maintain its body weight, a sea otter must eat 25% of its body weight per day.
Sea otters have the densest hair coat of any mammal, with 800,000 to one million hairs per square inch (humans only have 20,000 hairs on their whole head). When sea otters are not foraging, you often see them grooming their fur. They do this to dry their fur and remove salt crystals and excess oil, which fluffs their fur and traps air. Their body heat warms the trapped air and further insulates them. The trapped air provides 4 times as much insulation as the same thickness of fat would provide.

Saturday, January 4, 2014



Wolves are social animals and usually live in packs that include parents and pups of the year. The average pack size is six or seven animals, and pack members often include some yearlings and other adults. Packs of 20 to 30 wolves sometimes occur, and these larger packs may have two or three litters of pups from more than one female.
The social order in the pack is characterized by a separate dominance hierarchy among females and males. In most areas wolf packs tend to remain within a territory used almost exclusively by pack members, with only occasional overlap in the ranges of neighboring packs.
Despite a generally high birth rate, wolves rarely become abundant because mortality is also high. In much of Alaska, the major sources of mortality are: predation by other wolves; hunting; and trapping. Diseases, malnutrition, and accidents also help regulate wolf numbers. Predation by other wolves is a major cause of death because wolves defend their territories from other wolves. Dispersing wolves (e.g., young adults) are common but they typically find little suitable habitat that is not already occupied by other wolves.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Couple of Birds

A flock of Grey Capped Rosy Finches decided to land on our deck today.
What a wonderful sight.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Moose Facts

Growth patterns, age at sexual maturity, and production of offspring are closely tied to range conditions. A female moose, or “cow,” typically breeds at about 28 months, although breeding has been known to occur as early as 16 months. After a gestation period of about 230 days, cows give birth to calves in the spring. At the time of birth, these babies can weigh in at a mere 28 pounds, but within the first 5 months, calves grow to about 10 times that size. Calves are generally weaned in the fall at the time the mother is breeding again, and they are chased off just before she gives birth in the spring.

Adult males engage in the “rut” in late September and early October. During the rut, the males joust by bringing their antlers together and pushing. Serious battles are rare, with most injuries being minor. Occasionally, however, some individuals die from their wounds. The winner typically mates with several females.