Ravens on the Dalton

Jack and I found the most amazing sight back in 2006 when we pulled into Happy Valley along the Dalton Highway.  Happy Valley is a former pipeline camp at about mile 335 that now is a gravel pullout where various storage units are kept.  There’s an airstrip that hunters and Fish & Game use, and Jack has seen mushers there too.

A raven built a nest in a set of moose antlers on the side of a building and 2 young ravens were in it!

This raven nest, with 2 babies in it, is built in a set of moose antlers on the side of a building!

This raven nest, with 2 babies in it, is built in a set of moose antlers on the side of a building!

You can see how much of a mess the raven family has made with guano all over the steps, propane tanks and the side of the building.

Ravens nest in a set of moose antlersWhat a work of art!

Raven young in nest

The “babies” were absolutely quiet and watchful while I snapped photos and even climbed up on a nearby truck to get on the same level as them.  They did not seem traumatized. 🙂

Jack had a close encounter with a very friendly raven a few years ago too.

Raven sitting on Jack's truck hood and peering inside the windshield.

Raven sitting on Jack’s truck hood and peering inside the cab.

Don’t worry, I discussed with Jack how it’s not appropriate to feed wild animals and that it might even be against the law! 🙂

They are amazing creatures.  So smart!

Elk antlers in a tree trunk

Check out this elk skull and antlers that got engulfed by a tree!  The skull is encased by wood completely; the antler tips stick out on either side of the trunk of the tree that grew around it.  Jack and I found this display at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center in northern California along the Pacific Coast.  Will wonders never cease!?

Jack’s driving the motor home this time…

This year Jack took me and the motor home out for a quick weekend hunt.  (It was really camping, not hunting, although Jack would have taken a shot if he came across one in an accessible area.)  We really wish we had been able to get out a little more over the summer!

There is always next year…

Jack, taking a look

Jack, taking a look

Sport, taking a lookSport, taking a look

Truck on the Dalton Highway, with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline next to the road

A Western Star truck driving the Dalton Highway with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the background.  Jack knew who the driver was, of course.

Jack's wife, Judy and their dog Sport

Jack’s wife, Judy (me), and our dog Sport.

What are these?

Any idea what these are?

Jack on a pipeline access road

Jack on a pipeline access road.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Dalton Highway AlaskaFinally the sun starts to come out!

Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Dalton Highway Alaska

And we get to see the pipeline in the evening sun.

Dalton Highway sign

The beautiful Dalton Highway road sign at 1 mile.

Jack with motor home and big trucks

Jack taking a look at the big trucks, but he’s driving a motor home this time…

Here are a few more photos if you are interested.

Oxbow Lake, Dalton Highway Alaska

Trans-Alaska PIpeline, Dalton Highway Alaska

Autumn FireweedTrans-Alaska Pipeline along the Dalton Highway Alaska

Graffiti on the Trans-Alaska PipelineGraffiti on the Trans-Alaska PipelineBridge near Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse near the Trans-Alaska PipelineTrans-Alaska PipelineTrans-Alaska Pipeline, Dalton Highway AlaskaTrans-Alaska Pipeline

Have a wonderful autumn everyone!

Yearling Moose

Sorry for not posting for such a long time!  I often ask Jack to take more photos on the road but he’s too busy trucking!  So you’re stuck with a few photos of this lovely young moose chomping on willows.

Yearling Moose

She was really feasting up a storm on Chena Hot Springs Road yesterday.

Yearling Moose

She’s stripping the leaves off the willow branches.

Yearling Moose eating willowAnd doing a thorough job of it!

Yearling Moose eating willow

I bet you didn’t know Moose could open their mouths that wide!  (Just kidding, that’s just her lip I think, but it looks funny.)

Yearling Moose

Here she is being alert.  She is actually quite small for a moose that is without a mother.  I’m sure she’s a yearling and probably only about 4 1/2 feet at the shoulder (wild guess!).  (Calling her a “she” is also a guess.)

Yearling Moose

Have a nice day everyone!

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Of Squirrels & Moose Antlers

We’ve never heard of this before but there’s a squirrel around here who likes to scrape the tines off of moose antlers!

Tips of tines scraped off moose antlersSeveral times over the summer we heard a mysterious scraping sound coming from the area where Jack’s moose antlers are stored in the woods. We knew the resident squirrel was up to something and sure enough, when we inspected the antlers a few days ago, the tips were scraped off the tines!  Jack says he thinks it’s the squirrel sharpening his teeth and you can actually find a couple of references to this on the internet.  (Here is a link to a video of a squirrel sharpening its teeth on some other kind of antlers, in some other part of the country.  Our squirrel looks much different, smaller and more orange-red. It could be that the squirrel is getting some kind of nutrient from them too and in the video it almost looks like the squirrel is eating the bits of antler.)

Jack's moose antlers

Jack hopes to get a chance to replace the antlers this hunting season!

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Lady Moose Wanders Through

A lady moose visited us the other day, wandering through on her search for bigger and better twigs to nibble.  How an animal that size can sustain a pregnancy nibbling twigs, I have no idea.  But you can see that she is big in the belly and really is on a search for the best most tender nutritious twigs.  She makes her rounds daily I suspect, if our dog’s fear of going outside lately is any indication.

Moose and dogs are natural enemies since dog’s ancestors, wolves, are predators of moose.  You would never see our dog trying to take down a moose though (lol).  Somehow over the centuries the barking mechanism has taken over for the “try-to-eat” mechanism I guess.  You can find examples of the moose-dog feud on You Tube.

Pregnant Moose - Fairbanks, Alaska

Female moose with calves can be quite aggressive and believe it or not, violent.  There have been quite a few moose tramplings in Alaska over the years, mostly in Anchorage.  At least one man was killed by a moose protecting her calf in 1995.

So, this one doesn’t have a calf but it’s likely that her hormones have kicked in and she would probably not back down from a challenge.  I stayed up on the deck totally out of her reach.  When a person jogged by with their dog she was very attentive.

Alert Moose

As they ran by, she didn’t take her eyes off of them until they were out of sight.  And her ears were locked straight forward.  I’ve never seen a moose so obviously aware of every movement in its surroundings.

She might be tough, but look at those beautiful eyelashes!

Lady Moose

Lady Moose

Nice beard, too!  🙂

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Huge Wolf Track!

Wolf Track compared to the size of a dollar bill

Jack found this wolf track along the Dalton Highway the other day and put down a bill to compare size.  It’s huge!

(When I looked at this I said “You used a 100 dollar bill???”  Turns out, it was the most crisp bill in his wallet so he used it!  Funny.)

The wolf track is much larger than I would have imagined.  Our dog is pretty decent sized but his print would be about half that size!

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