Saturday, June 30, 2012
It has been a busy and eventful 5 days with visiting family. Helicopter tour of Juneau Icefield with a landing on Taku Glacier. Don't know how my niece manageed but she scheduled the Icefield tour at least 6 weeks in advance and got beautiful weather. It was sunny and 80 degrees that day. The wind and clouds returned just as our helicopter landed back at the pad. Taku Glacier is large, wider than the Mendenhall, and it is the only advancing glacier on the Juneau Icefield. The next day we sailed to Tracy Arm and back. Saw a lot of seals with their babies on the ice floes. Not much ice calving tho. The captain took to both Sawyer Glaciers. One in the north arm and one in the south. Our last tour was Whale Watching. We went with Orca Tours and Captain Larry. What a special trip that was! He took us to see Humpback whales feeding by using their Bubble Net technique. To see the whales do this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events. We were truly blessed! There were 8 or 9 Humpback Whales feeding and we watched them dive and make bubblenets 5 or 6 times. I did get a picture of the whales coming up thru their bubblenet. If you zoom in on the photo you can see the mouth on the whale to the right. This is the last picture shown of the 5 I posted. In between, we did sightseeing, shopping, ate and played cards. Saw two bear at the Mendenhall Glacier. One was up in a cottonwood tree breaking off branches to eat. The other bear was on our trail as we walked out to see Nugget Creek Falls.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Here are some better pictures of those eagles lining the beach the other night. These pictures were taken by my neighbor. Thank you to them for sharing. In my 40+ years here, it was the first time I had seen eagles in such numbers in one spot (outside of Haines and the river in winter) and standing at the water's edge. Some looked like they were standing in water waiting to eat, but looking closer I think they found rocks to stand on. The pictures show a line of eagles at north end of the harbor and there were at least as many looking south.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
An update on the eagles. This is weird. one of my neighbors counted over 55 and my other neighbor estimated at least 100. The eagles are lined up at the waters edge along the shore mostly from my house to neighbor, but there are more further along each direction. I'll try to post a picture(s). Those little bumps along the shore are eagles. I think you can zoom in on them. The third picture shows an eagle that just flew over to a different rock and landed.
Eagles, eagles, eagles! There must be at least 2 dozen eagles on the beach, flying over the water and thru the trees. The harbor must be filled with feed. They are playing King of the Rock/Limb. It is a mix of adult bald eagles and juveniles. And, whales are still coming into the harbor. Another cruised by close this morning and then did a deep dive with tail flukes showing. Awesome.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I mentioned seeing two blowholes on the humpback whales swimming near the house and did not know if all whales had two. Here is an explanation and answer from one of my friends: Baleen whales (like humpbacks, blue whales, gray whales, bowhead whales, etc.) have two blowholes, located side by side. Toothed whales (like sperm whales, beluga whales, dolphins, etc.) have one blowhole. Most mammals have two nostrils (blowhole equivalents). One of the nostrils (air-passages) of toothed whales evolved into their echolocation system (the sensing system in which they make and recieve high-pitched sounds in order to orient themselves, catch prey, and communicate), leaving them with only one blowhole.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
May really WAS cold and wet in Juneau. I did not imagine it. Here is the official weather summary for May: May in Juneau owns coldest maximum temperature record, also 4th wettest on record Juneau experienced a record cold month in May. It was also pretty wet. Meteorologist Richard Lam in the Juneau Forecast Office of the National Weather Service says the average maximum temperature was 48.9 degrees, which was nearly 8 degrees below normal. The previous record was 49.4 degrees set in 1955. Records have been dept at Juneau's Airport since 1943. There were two daily maximum temperature records. It hit 42 on May 8th which tied the previous record set in 1959. It reached 44 on May 11. That tied the previous record in 1952. It was the 4th wettest May on record with 5.73 inches of precipitation which was about 2.5 inches above normal. Rain fell on 29 of the 31 days. The average mean temperature was 44.7 degrees , which was about 4 degrees below normal. It was the 8th coldest May in terms of mean temperature. The average low was 40.5 which was near normal. It was the 4th wettest May on record with 5.73 inches of precipitation which was about 2.5 inches above normal. Rain fell on 29 of the 31 days. There were three days with a trace of snow on the 4th, the 14th and the 15th, which constituted snow records for those dates. But the latest snowfall ever remains as May 25 in 1955. The highest wind gust at the airport was 44 miles per hour from the southeast on the 11th. The highest gust at the Douglas Boat Harbor was 37 miles per hour on the 8th
Friday, June 1, 2012
Humpback whales continue to cruise around inside the harbor. Two whales surfaced in front of house last night and I was looking down on their blowholes. There have been lunge feedings where the whale erupts out of the water mouth first and open. The last lunge feeding was in front of my neighbor's. I could hear it happening, but could not see it thru the trees.