Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Welcome to Haines!

Hey everyone! Thanks to Yiwei for posting pictures of my journey north. The ferry left from Prince Rupert, British Columbia on Tuesday afternoon. It stopped Tuesday night in Ketchikan, AK. Then it made two stops the next morning: very early morning in Wrangell, and again a few hours later in Petersburg. From Petersburg we had a long eight-hour trip to Juneau, where we were in port for almost two hours. Rigby was glad to get off the ship. We walked around near port until it was time for the last leg of our trip.

After we left Juneau, it was another four and a half hours to Haines. We pulled out of Juneau right as the sun was setting, so it made for a very pretty evening.


Just an hour or so outside of port, look what we saw-  a pod of six gray whales! They were very close to the ship, and we passed them very quickly. I only had time to snap a couple pictures with my phone. Too bad I didn't have my DSLR on me.



After that I went to sleep. The ferry didn't get into Haines until 1:00 AM or so. Four days driving and another two on the ferry, and Rigby and I were worn out when we got up here. But not so worn out that we didn't immediately begin appreciating all Haines has to offer. Just look at the view from our campsite the first morning:


Thursday morning Rigby and I began exploring Haines. We made a trip to the visitor's center to see what sorts of information they might have there. We were treated to yet another gorgeous view.


Turns out Haines isn't short on pretty mountains.


About midday, I was able to meet up with an individual I'd contacted through the Haines Community Website, who offered an apartment for rent near town. I went to see the place and accepted it immediately, and was fortunately able to move in that afternoon. It's not a bad place. It's a studio, with a small kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Rigby has plenty of space to run around. There is water, electricity, and heat. Oh, and it has a pretty nice view, too.


After that, we made a visit to town for groceries. Yikes! Food is EXPENSIVE up here! It makes sense, since Haines is small and relatively isolated. Although one of the few towns in Southeast Alaska connected to the interior by highway, it's still 250 miles from the nearest city, Whitehorse, Yukon. Most of the goods travel here by ferry, so the expenses of transport really add up! There are three grocery stores here, including one small organic market. Produce is hard to come by, and sometimes trips to all three stores are necessary to get the ingredients for a single meal. Cereal up here, even the cheap stuff, is almost $6 a box! I can't decide whether I'll eat healthier here, since I won't be able to afford things like chips, or worse, since I'll have to buy the cheapest food I can find.

Ah, well. At least I can look forward to seeing this every morning!





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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bears deserve respect. Man mauled in Alaska

Alone, no bear spray and no firearm is not a good idea when walking in brown bear country. A man and beagle surprised a sow with three cubs. He was initially thought to have non-life threatening injuries but it now appears that his injuries are worse than expected and he is in critical condition. We wish him luck. A reminder to be careful!

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/23/4650669/man-mauled-by-grizzly-on-alaska.html

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Brown Bear & Salmon Cam - Brooks Falls

Check out this live cam of bears feeding on salmon in Katmai National Park!

Brown Bear & Salmon Cam - Brooks Falls - Bears - explore

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fantastic PBS documentary about Pebble Mine

The largest gold and copper deposits in North America sit right on top of the world's best salmon run. Learn more about one of the largest ongoing environmental and social battles in this PBS documentary. It is highly informative and presents a fairly unbiased presentation of the issues.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2260099527

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On the ferry!


Canadian banana slugs not nearly
as attractive as Santa Cruz Ones
Morse Creek

Hiking in Prince Rupert 












Rachel sent some video and photos of her stay in Prince Rupert and her ferry ride up to Haines. Unfortunately, Rigby had to sit in the car deck for most of the trip. The 30 hour ferry ride traveled from Prince Rupert to Juneau and finally to Haines where Rachel arrived this morning!

Matanuska in port
In line for Ferry
View from sleeping bag on ferry




Prince Rupert as Matanuska pulls away


Last views of Prince Rupert from the Matanuska

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thanks from Taal Levi

video
Thanks everyone for donating to our campaign and for following our research journeys. I am in New York studying how interactions among carnivores impact the dynamics of Lyme disease. I'll keep you posted as I head up to Alaska in September to keep studying carnivores. Keep following our blog to watch us catch eagles, monitor wildlife use of salmon, and study carnivore interactions!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Return Flight - great documentary on eagles!

Last week, I met Kevin White, a producer and director who showed his video, Return Flight, at the Society of Conservation Biology meeting. This movie is a short film about the extinction of bald eagles from the Channel Islands in California and the long struggle to return them to the ecosystem. It highlights the loss of bald eagles from the lower 48 states last century due to DDT and depicts how difficult and costly recovery can be. Alaska is the only state that maintained healthy eagle populations during that period, and we need to make sure it stays that way!

Watch Return Flight

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Rachel's trip up (Part 2)

Rachel has arrived at Prince Rupert 1 day ahead of schedule - ferry leaves tomorrow for Haines!

Day Three: Chilliwack, BC, to Prince George, BC. Camped at Fort George Canyon Provincial Park.

Day Four: Prince George, BC to Prince Rupert, BC. Will hike with Rigby tomorrow nearby. Need to find a shower!


Campsite at Fort George Canyon
 Provincial Park near Prince George
Mountains on the road
   

Rest areas in Canada are pretty!
More mountains on the road






Peaks near Terrace, Canada

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Rachel's trip up (Part 1)

Hi Everyone!

Rachel sent us some pictures and videos from her trip up north as she drives into Canada. Enjoy and live vicariously through her and Rigby's adventures!

Here are Rachel's notes from the field:

Day One: Santa Cruz, CA to Sutherlin, OR. Camped in a parking lot between an abandoned building and a Subway just off I-5.

Day Two: Sutherlin, OR to Chilliwack, BC. Camped in a parking lot behind a Comfort Inn. It was kind of like being at a hotel.
Rachel hates traffic
So does Rigby...
But she loves the metric system! 
Mountains near Lytton, British Columbia


video
And finally - a look at the Fraser River in BC


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Friday, July 20, 2012

And... she's off!

Rachel is leaving for her long journey up to Alaska. She will first drive from Santa Cruz, California, to Prince Rupert, Canada. From there, she and Rigby will hop on a ferry for a two day trip to Alaska. Join us in wishing her good luck as we see her off!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Equipment (Part 1 of ?)

The countdown is on! I (Rachel) am leaving to head up to Haines, Alaska, in less than a week! As part of my pre-trip preparations, I've been getting our equipment assembled.

A large part of our research project involves the use of noninvasive motion-detecting trail cameras to census wildlife populations. We set these cameras up on trees, or sometimes fence posts or t-posts, and program them to take an image of anything that might wander by, day or night. This allows us to see what species of wildlife are around, and the frequency each species might use a specific area. For example, cameras set near popular hiking trails see a lot of human activity during the day-- bikers, hikers, horseback riders, and people walking their pets. During nighttime, however, the same trails are often used by wildlife species. Check out some of the photos Yiwei's trail cameras have captured of wildlife around the Santa Cruz Mountains!

Each trail camera set-up has several parts, pictured here. The main body of the camera, housed in brown plastic, has a motion sensor and infrared flash. The camera itself sits in a protective steel casing, which will (hopefully) prevent curious bears from destroying it. The entire unit is secured to a tree or other object with a nylon strap, and is protected from theft by a strong cable lock.


The cameras we use are Bushnell Trophy Cam. These cameras are digital, take AA batteries, and use SD cards.  They are easy to set up and use, and pictures can be downloaded directly to a personal computer. For those of you that live in rural areas, or who live in areas bordering open space, like fields or forests, you can purchase and use your own trail camera right in your own backyard! The camera units, sans bear-proof steel housing, run around $200 a piece, and with lithium batteries and a large SD card can be left in the field for months at a time (of course, you can always check them more frequently if you want). If you're curious to see what types of wildlife live around your home, consider setting up your own trail camera!

This week I inventoried all of our trail cameras for our upcoming Alaska predator project. All of our cameras are numbered, and since theft and curious passers-by are always a possibility, even in remote areas, we add contact information to each unit. Here are the cameras, locks, and SD cards, all set and ready to go!




Before too long we'll have these cameras set up in Alaska, and will have Alaskan wildlife pictures to share!

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thanks!

video

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