Tag Archives: pine grosbeak


aurora borealis-16-23Overflow ice floods Rufus Creek as Aurora Borealis dance.

Rufus Creek flows through our ten acres of black spruce forest on its way North to the Slana River.  The northern boreal forest is a patchwork of dynamic land forms and plant communities, niches that a  few hardy species of wildlife can exploit.  Diversity of life here is low but the species and settings are spectacular. Continue reading



 Boreal chickadee

Ever feel like going on a safari but just can’t get away? Well, take a safari in your own back yard. Here you’re the expert. You know the terrain and what to expect.  And believe it or not everyone can benefit from this little exercise. In fact, even with the smallest back yard, some amazing and beautiful images can be made. I regularly take a backyard safari.


Pine grosbeak

My Big Backyard
I bet my back yard is bigger and wilder than yours! Our ten acres of northern boreal forest borders Wrangell/St. Elias National Park, Alaska, our largest National Park. My back yard stretches south for a couple hundred miles through the wilderness of Alaska.  We have had grizzlies, wolves, red fox, lynx, great gray owls, nesting hawk owls, bald eagles, golden eagles, willow ptarmigan, great horned owls, sharp-tailed grouse, boreal owls, marten, caribou, Alaskan moose and much more on out little ten acre homestead. But still it is usually a difficult challenge to photograph the local wildlife .  Nothing comes easy.


Red squirrel

Developing Photo Potential
Getting the most out of your backyard safari is the same as any photo trip. In fact your own backyard offers the best opportunity to learn to develop photographic potential. And, there is no better place to gain valuable experience in finding solutions to photographic problems we all encounter in the field.

Look for a unique perspective.

Create feeding stations for birds and squirrels.

Take the time to let wildlife become used to your presence.

Build a blind if you have shy wildlife species.


Red squirrel jumping


Pine grosbeak


56-15-1Short-tailed weasel.

This week there were a couple of expert mousers hanging out at my place.  Actually there are no mice here, but lots of red-backed voles.  As vole hunters go, nothing can match the tiny short-tailed weasel or ermine. Continue reading