Tuesday, April 28, 2009

summer heat

OK it is 17 C right now, (63 F) and it is hot. In our Yukon summer most days will not feel this hot.
With the snow we had, there is lots of running water, little creeks everywhere, where i have never seen a creek. I even saw a little waterfall coming of a normally dry rock face.
And yes i saw my first crocus this year! Just one group, that's it.

And several Butterflies!
This the Mourning Cloak.
Look a the ragged edges, this is an hybernating butterfly, this the last stage of it's life. John Acorn
in Butterflies of Alberta says it will live until June.

I also spotted what i think was a Fritillary, which seems early!
It was here in the yard so i might see it again, there is still almost 4 hours of sun light left in our Northern day.

Ah this morning didn't start so glorious though, for me that is.
I wanted to make it out to my 2 Birch trees that i tap for sap, as this is not Birch country, they are, on a good day, an hours walk north.(growing only on north slopes here)
Today it took me way longer, i tried to go when the ice path was still frozen.
No such luck, i fell through, many steps, especially on the way back. (of course) Anyway the buckets are there and the holes drilled out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

an Anglewing

Hot, hot, hot, today.
I won't say how many degrees, because you would still think it ain't much.
But it is, the snow is melting, and i've been raking the leaves.
On a walk up the hill, i came upon a butterfly eating mud on the road.
It's an Anglewing for sure. A Polygonia. It could be a green comma, grey Comma or a Hoary Comma.If you look closely on the underwing bottom right of the wing (top photo) you see a little white comma, hence the name.

On top of the hill there where some beautiful singers! You think it would be easier to identify a bird, but again i need your help, I'm pretty sure it's a kind of flycatcher.

And on the hill, called crocus-hill, by me and the neighbours, (i think everybody has a crocus-hill in their neighbourhood.)
any way lots of fuzzy heads popping up, i haven't seen it bloom yet.
In this picture, you see the fuzzy heads, with last years leaves.

Our Crocus, possibly Yukoners most beloved flower, is not a true crocus. It's a pulsatilla ludoviciana, a Ranunculaceae, Crowfoot family.
called Prairie-crocus or Pasque-flower.
Most Yukoners call it: Crocus!
the red plant, a Prickly Saxifrage.
I will post it again when i get a photo of a blooming one,
last year i used the crocus as a header on my wildflower blog
see header on my yukon wildflower blog

Sunday, April 26, 2009

hmmm more swans

Today i spend a day (after too long a time) with my first friend in the North, Bonnie. 1985 Atlin B.C. (Bonnie took this photo today, the river coming out of Pine Lake)
peace - elegance - purity - innocence
writes Steven D. Farmer about the Swan in
power animal oracle cards guidebook:
"Appreciate the beauty inside and all around you"

Bonnie and I
we go back a long way
some time is lost
a tooth maybe
a shared memory
we also gained
some grey hairs
a garden path
close in spirit
never forgotten
love increased
by surprise
swans swim
into our day
taking us to a place
in our hearts
i didn't know we had
a place of purity
where in all elegance
we shared our innocence
The swans
they know it's grace

:) use your imagination, you can think what you want,
we had soooo much fun!
and thanks to you. Thank you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

a butterfly!

This afternoon after my hike with Jane Vincent, i picked up Destiny for tutoring, she spotted a butterfly. A first again; the Mourning Cloak. Here in my (disorganized) notes i find:
1998 April 16
1999 April 16
2000 April 21
2005 April 22
2009 April 25, later again, as you see, but I don't see them every year. So i am very happy that at least one came out of hibernation.

Leaving this morning at 9 o'clock (when the trails are still frozen, a bit.) i biked over to Jane, who lives closer to the highway, East from here. From her place we hike South towards the Mendenhall meadows, to go to the 911-pond which is West from me. At the bluffs below her house, there is a Mountain Bluebird :( no photo.
And i spot two Robins! The first one arrived yesterday in my yard.

Following the meadows, it takes us less than two hours to get to the pond, where....

In the very distant we see two Trumpeter Swans sitting in what seems the snow. But taking a closer look there is open water.

And as you see the skidoo trail all frozen, we are walking on a long 'bridge' among water. We do fall through at a few places, but get no more than a wet foot. As where there is water, it is swamp, and the swamp still frozen underneath.
But the swans are here! I wonder if they are a little later as usual, but for sure the ice is going out late.
For swans, yesterday Virginia had a around 100 flying around her in her field, plus some 50 Canada Geese. Lucky her!
She directs them to Mendenhall, and i did see a dozen fly over, when crossing the pond.

On the way back, we take my shortcut through the woods to come out by the highway.
In the forest my snowshoe/ski trail is rather soft. But we pass some mystical waterholes on the way, some with running water. I assume it is all melt water, no creeks here, nor swamps. This year it seems very different the way everything melts.
But like always it is wonderful to see everything reappearing, walking in mud, through water, gravel, dry grass, etc.

We had lunch at the Mendenhall river, maybe (at this location), the last time this season, as soon we won't be able to cross the 911-pond.
I made a photo of the water flowing under a thin sheet of ice.

You have to imagine the flow, sparkling movement and gurgling.
We lay down on the crisp dry grass on the shore, dreaming.

Friday, April 24, 2009

the crocuses are out

"The crocuses are out",
a young listener from the Junction.

the crocuses are out
how can i ever be sad again

i step outside
i see something
in the far trees
it's snowing there
soon surrounding me
flakes are getting thicker
totally covering the ground

the crocuses are out
how can i ever not be delighted

i could
climb the hill
i might
see a purple petal
sticking out through snow
it would
be a confirmation

a scent lingering
a groove in the mattress
or a petal in the snow
the crocuses are out
the moment ever fleeting
i didn't even see it yet

Inspired by the kid on the radio, and christopher and rachel

It's still snowing
heavier now
any sign of purple petals gone
grace remains :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

yukon wildlife preserve

Yesterday in town, i went for a birdwalk in the preserve on the Hotspringsroad.
Thanks Mary and Jerry Whitley, Clare Estelle Daitch and Dave Mossep.
and most of all the birds and animals,
and the lovely people i walked with.
yukon wildlife preserve

Releasing a Northern Hawk Owl

American tree Sparrow


Stone Sheep

Stone Sheep

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Guess who?

Biking the highway. I guess not the wildest of places, but as things melt faster in the ditches, lots is happening there.
Before we get to the highway. We see a gopher. Well i say we, but it is Virginia, as always a bit faster as i am. And Cliff faster again, knows the gophers have been out for a week.
The gopher seems to sit frozen in the middle of this field.
And right away we see why. A bird comes flying in, circles a bit
Maybe see us, and waits high up in a tree.
We wait too, but nobody moves, so we let them be and we will never know,
we don't see any sign of a struggle after we come back.

But as we turn in the driveway a bird of prey does take off out of the ditch.

Of course my question to you is again, who is this raptor? Busily getting my camera, i didn't watch it fly.

Along the highway we meet several Northern Harriers again.
And two beautiful birds, one of them, GUESS WHO?
And she looks as beautiful as the songs she writes! (click her name and you get to her blog)
Wonderful Rachel to meet you:)

Monday, April 20, 2009


overcome by the heat of the sun
walking around dizzy on
snow that falls into nothing
every step that i take

in every moment
rejoice in joy
be sad when sad
feel the sadness in joy
see the joy in sadness

every moment i can look
up at the sun
dazzling in glory
easily accepting what is

no horrors for so long
when did i know deep sorrow?
was i ever totally floored?
a big black cloud in the south
silently passes by
the sun never blinked

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I didn't know what to call this post, because i am posting photos of a storm coming from the East. It never did come here, as it is 8 pm, still warm (+5 C/41 F) and sunny. Blue sky, a few little white fluffy clouds. Snow melting.

We had a glorious day, I snowshoed for over 3 hours in shorts and t-shirt,
Don sat in the sun in front of his shop,(the hot spot)
and :( Alexander played PlayStation on-line in the house.(he looks rather pale)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trumpeter Swan

Cygnus buccinator
At the mouth of the Takhini River.
Kusawa lake

At noon Virginia and I leave, to try some fishing at the river. Our plan is to go to the fishing hole at the first campground, where we were two days ago.
Ha, but in a distance we see one camper, we didn't want to disturb them now, did we.
Virginia drove on, through some mighty big puddles that is. It's a four wheel drive road, the brown muddy water splashing up way above the hood.
But i am saying nothing, secretly excited that she might drive on, all the way to the end; Kusawa lake. I have not been there all winter.
We stop in between puddles at a fishing hole at a beautiful bend in the river. It is bright and sunny, but the wind cool. We dress up, and Virginia tries a few casts.
I walk the ice shelves on the bank of the river. The water and sky bright blue the clouds white, the ice shelves white with blue underneath as they are turned up calving in the river. The water at the rapids sparkling. The only birds some Grey jays who seem to be eating the bugs of the ice.
No fish, the wind cold, we drive on.
make a stop at the mouth of the river. And drive on to the end.
The lake is still frozen, some skidoo trailers parked at the dock, the skidoos far away on the lake.
We walk the road over the glaciated ice, where the mudslides might come down again this spring, have a picnic.
Driving back, loving everything, we do comment on the lack of birds. And as Virginia says; it's a dead zone, in the same sentence she says, look there!
Four Swans! There we are at the photos above!
No fish, but this is a greater sight to catch, for me.

Dark-eyed Junco

April 18 2009, first Junco at the feeder.

April 17 2001 - 1 Junco
April 23 2005 - lots of Juncos
April 3 2006 - 1 Junco in the garden
April 21 2007 - Juncos in the garden
April 29 2008 - Juncos around
May 6 2008 - in the garden

Friday, April 17, 2009


Here some beautiful poems from Vancouver, now.
These poems are from Jane Jacobs.
I think Jane really should start her own blog. Jane, how about it?
Nevertheless, thanks for letting me post them here!

Cherry blossoms

Just a petal
the mountains vanishes into pink air

One street connects to another
Cherry blossoms

The April rain, the April rain
Comes slanting down in fitful showers
Then from the furrow shoots the grain
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers
Andin grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again

April rain, Jane

Northern Harrier

Last night i saw some 15 swans flying over. They flew following the power line, which is parallel to the highway; East to West, coming from Marsh lake.
Every year i keep data of all these events (not in any organized way though)
As for the swans at the 911 pond:
2006 April 11 - 2 swans
2007 April 18 - 7 swans (on frozen pond)
2008 April 21 - swan footprints on wet ice
2008 April 17 - 2 swans at Mendenhall landing.
So the swans are right on schedule.
Al though i did not see them at the pond.

Early this morning i set of to go check. My husband offered me a ride which i did not decline, as to get to the pond i have to walk on the highway for 5 km one way.
He was going to collect 'the money' strewn along the highway (beer cans, recycling money)
As it will we drive the same speed as a Northern Harrier
(25 km p/h)

Circus cyaneus

A circus it was, me trying to take pictures through Don's open window.

I think i wanted to post these photos in opposite order. (with posting pictures on the blog, you have to kind of think backwards.)

Don drops me off at the road to the pond, and carries on. I will probably walk all the way back, as we don't live on time here. I never know where i end up and he neither. It is a beautiful arrangement :)
I have a beautiful walk, but no swans at the pond, which is still frozen.
No swans at the mendenhall river South of it, which has a little open water, where we got stuck with the skidoos a few weeks ago.
I walk back on the west side of the pond, no birds.
I walk back to the highway.
And lo and behold, (which often happens to us,) that husband and i are totally in tune.
As i step on the highway, he drives by. And is kind enough to pick me up.

On the way home we see a Horned Lark.

And here in the garden a Varied Thrush.
Ixoreus naevius

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Takhini river

The mountain bluebirds arrived!!!!
Don saw them yesterday , and i today.
No picture though, only pictures of the Takhini river flowing.

The ice is candling on the sides and will soon break away in long candles. The picture taken from the top.

And bugs, lots of bugs. Tomorrow we, Virginia and me, might try to fish for some grayling. Don says though they don't go for the bugs, they are spawning. When they are there.

This morning Virginia and i first go snowshoeing, the weather very lovely humid, no wind and cloudy. Very, very soft, we put our ears to trees to see if we are sensitive enough to hear them talk.

After lunch we decide to go out to see the river. Swans had stopped at her farm this morning, i figure the closest open water would be the river. No swans in sight though.
We have a lovely time walking on the ice shelve attached to the shore.

Looking at all the beautiful ice formations.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

tulips in holland

go see this! I do wonder what i am doing here in all this snow and ice.
While my home country is in full bloom at the moment, not just tulips.
(click on 'foto's' here, underneath the title of my post, then arriving at the website, click on 'foto's' there, and you find some 54 incredible pictures.)

Mount Decoeli

That's were we went yesterday, to play into that cloud ahead.
It's a big Easter tradition here to go to a Summit for Easter weekend. This year we went only for one day. too bad. Because even in weather like this, now really this is my most favorite outing all time.:) it is.

Below here you see a small gathering of like minded people, while i climb up the mountain, well really i scratch it a little like an ant. We are here at the edge of the ST. Elias Range. Which has many truly great mountains in it. One of them Mount Logan 19.550 feet,5.959m.
One day i might see Mount Logan from the ground, which is standing on top of mount Decoeli. Today there is no way, Climbing for almost 2 hours, i don't get very far, and the wind and flurries want me down.

to be continued....
I have to make Easter breakfast.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Elfin creek

A Moose has been hanging out at elfin creek.
Eating the bark of the willows.

And nibbling the branches of the Highbush-Cranberry.
Viburnum edule

nesting birds?

As far as birds that stay here all winter; it is most likely that the chickadees are nesting, there are only a few at the feeder now. In the winter they gather together, but in spring they break up.
The Gray Jays should be nesting too.
And the Ravens... well they do start nesting in March, but where? Not much recorded in books. I just notice that they are chattering in the woods here all day long, for the last few days. It is still the three of them. Two, like always, flying together and one separate.
This morning two where flying together, but i wonder, different sounds and not so harmoniously in unison as normal. More like one chasing the other one away.?
What do you think?