Monday, September 23, 2013

Summer Visit to the Pribilof Islands

Just got back from another great trip into the field. As always, the Pribilof's did not disappoint. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.
Here is a nice close-up shot of a least auklet. They are extremely striking, particularly when you see them this close.  We were collecting diet samples from them as part of a long-term study of seabirds diets in the Bering Sea.  Getting the sample is pretty easy, when we catch them they typically puke, and we scrape the puke up off the rocks and let them go!
This surly young fellow is a sub-adult male fur seal.  He is letting us know that he's there, and that we should not leave the safety of our observation blind! 
I had the great pleasure of meeting three Japanese colleagues that are conducting research on St. George for the Japanese Polar Institute. Dale, Nabuo, and Taka (from left to right) are putting tags on a sample of birds to track their movements, both during the summer (fine scale) and over the winter (broad scale). I'm looking forward to seeing their results.
When the sun comes out, the picture taking can be pretty awesome. This was on my last day, right before I flew out. Later that day the clouds rolled in and stayed around for over three weeks!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Telluride to Moab by Bike

 This is the climb out of Telluride Colorado, heading up into the San Juan Mountains.  This was our first day on the route so having a nice paved road for the start of our first long climb was welcome.
This is my favorite picture of the entire crew.  Although I only knew three of them prior to this trip (and two of the three I had only met once or twice), I had a fantastic time with them. It was a great group of folks and we had a blast together.

Here is the view from our hut for night #1.  The road below doesn't look like much, but it was a tough grind on the way up the previous afternoon.  We had a thunder storm move in on us and we got pretty wet and had some lightning strikes touch down pretty close to us!

This is another view of the San Juan mountains.  Our hut for the first night was located on the right hand shoulder of the ridge at an altitude of 10,200 ft.

 Here I am with my rental bike.  Most of my gear is in the saddle bag and handlebar bag.  I did carry a backpack but I tried to keep only water and my rain gear in that to reduce the amount of weight I was carrying on me!
 The scenery at the huts we we're staying at varied considerably.  One of our huts was located on an old ranch, and it was probably the most picturesque.  The sunset that night was incredible, and the place actually had a shower, which was very welcome after four hot, dusty days on the bike.
 This is my old friend Martin riding on the Porcupine Ridge trail just outside Moab Utah.  Just to the left of him is an amazing view of the valley AND a 400 ft. drop!!!  Several miles of this trail paralleled the cliff edge and gave us some spectacular views.
 This butte is located in Gateway Colorado, which was one of our stops.  Our cabin was located just to the left of this picture, in the trees.
 This is Robbie striking his best yoga pose overlooking a spectacular valley outside Moab.
This is Heike dropping down some slickrock on our final day of riding.
This is a dinosaur track (and Timmy's hand).