Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kenai Peninsula

Back to Anchorage from a week on the Kenai Peninsula.  We stayed near Anchor Point at a cabin overlooking the Cook Inlet with a 280 degree view of the ocean.  Bald eagles are more common than crows here, and they flew by our window many times.  We enjoyed two days of salmon/halibut fishing with a guide.  Missed the salmon run, guess it is late this year, but caught our limit of halibut both days and also some cod.  My arms are sore from reeling in the halibut-Duane caught one that was 47 inches long, about 50 pounds.  This morning we took a birding tour from Homer Spit, and saw quite a few different species, including some that were new to me.  We also saw a raft of sea otters that had tied themselves into the kelp to remain in place while they slept.  Some of the otter had young as well.  One of the most interesting sights was a raft of Common Mures and Kittiwakes on a "Fish Ball".  It was amazing to watch all those birds diving for fish, flying overhead, and making so much commotion.  Saw Tufted Puffins, Common Eider, Harlequin Ducks, Marbled Murrelet, Surfbird, Black-Legged Kittiwake, Glaucous-Winged Gull, Common Loon, etc.  Had lunch in Homer at the Two Sister's Bakery, excellent clam chowder.  Drove back to Anchorage in the afternoon.  Stopped once more at the Kenai/Russian River landing, and found the Dall Sheep on the slopes, but still were unable to spot a Mountain Goat.  Have seen so many moose we have lost track.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ninilchik, Alaska

Yesterday we drove through the Skilak National Wildlife Refuge just off the Sterling Highway near Sterling, AK.  Saw a large moose, lots of lakes and some waterfowl, Common Scoter and Barrow's Goldeneye.  Stayed in Soldatana and walked the riverwalk after dinner-saw Mew Gulls and Bonaparte's Gulls.  This morning we drove to Ninilchik where we visited the old Russian fishing village.  So picturesque and authentic with old buildings and derelict boats, and lots of salmon fishermen in the Ninilchik River-season opened today. Had lunch at the place where Duane stayed when he worked on seismograph crew over fifty years ago.  They are still renting the little log cabins-probably to fishermen.  We visited the Russian Orthodox Church overlooking the bay and found the name of one of Duane's Russian workmates from those days at the cemetery.  After lunch we found our fishing guide for tomorrow and our cabin on the cliff overlooking the ocean at Anchor Point-fantastic view.  After obtaining our fishing licenses, drove on to Homer and out onto the Homer Spit.  Spent some time there looking at the birds on the dock-decided they were black-legged kittiwakes.  Have seen and photographed the bald eagles today-so majestic.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sterling Highway

Here we are on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska.  Flew in to Anchorage Wednesday evening, arriving at midnight.  The mountians were spectacular with the midnight sunset.  Drove the old Sterling Highway yesterday and had lunch in Seward, enjoyed seeing the ships in the harbor and the beginning of the Iditarod Trail.  Visited Portage Glacier where the lake is still iced over, and drove out to Exit Glacier, but the road was closed.  Aspen and birch are leafing out, and I love the spindly Sitka Spruce that grows in the boggy places.  Saw a cow moose with twins, and realized that Allen's law is really true-they are so BIG here.  Have seen some new birds already, the Northwestern Crow and Arctic Tern.  Lots of gulls but haven't had time to ID them, I am pretty certain the common one is the Mew Gull.  Haven't had an opportunity to paint or sketch yet, but there is certainly plenty of inspiration here, there are vistas everywhere.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Pear Apples" a little 7 x 5" painting.  Working on watercolor layers to make glowing colors.