View from the highway between Fairbanks and Anchorage
We spent two nights in Fairbanks, hanging out as well as returning gear to the Fish & Wildlife Service office and finalizing last details of the summer. We birded at a couple places in town as well as going and seeing The Avengers in theaters - our first movie in quite a while! After our wrap-up work was done, we were free to do what we wanted until our flights back on the 20th!
Alongside the highway there are areas with spruce forest extending as far as you can see, really striking landscape
We both knew people down in Anchorage, so we headed down there next, stopping on the way south at Denali National Park for a short while – a brief intermission in the 6 hour drive. There was beautiful scenery on the drive, much of it featuring the enormous icy crown of Denali in the background. We got to see a Black Bear with three cubs in tow along the side of the road, and lots of fun birds, despite not locating the desired Arctic Warbler.
Mrs. Black Bear and her cubs
Laura had a friend in Anchorage that she had done fieldwork with in another part of Alaska a few years prior, and so her and Alan made plans to stay with her friend Julie. A friend of mine also currently lived in Anchorage, a former bander at Manomet back here in Mass, and so it was nice to get to see and catch up with her! After one night at my friend’s I spent the remainder of the time with Alan and Laura at Julie’s, since Julie’s house was a much easier space with which to entertain guests.
Alan and I wanted desperately to visit the Kenai Peninsula, since Anchorage is right there next to it, and Laura also wanted to go dip-netting for salmon with Julie for a weekend – so while they went and had a great time fishing, we went and had a last few days of hardcore birding before the end of the trip, which is where the next post will cover!