A telephoto lens helps capture this photo of a black bear on the Kenai Peninsula while keeping a safe distance. (Photo by C. Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Being aware in bear country

I recently got a call from a friend that is a typical call we receive when living in places like the Kenai Peninsula. Our friends… Continue reading

A telephoto lens helps capture this photo of a black bear on the Kenai Peninsula while keeping a safe distance. (Photo by C. Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Kayakers paddle across Kenai Lake on Saturday, June 12, 2021, near Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Kayakers paddle across Kenai Lake on Saturday, June 12, 2021, near Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
After a few days, the chick is getting stronger and showing promise for a potential successful release. (Photo by Marianne Clark)

Refuge Notebook: Do our feathered friends need help?

For many, summer in Alaska is signified by lupine in full bloom and the bugs coming out in force. The abundance of insects is also… Continue reading

After a few days, the chick is getting stronger and showing promise for a potential successful release. (Photo by Marianne Clark)
Map of wildfire history on the Kenai Peninsula. (From Wildland Fire Science)

Refuge Notebook: Living with fire on Kenai Peninsula

Thinking back to my childhood days in Alaska, I don’t recall wildfires being a regular occurrence. I’ve learned that I was uninformed at that time.… Continue reading

Map of wildfire history on the Kenai Peninsula. (From Wildland Fire Science)
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Tangled Up in Blue: Sidelined

I didn’t race in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb at Bird Ridge in Anchorage last Sunday. I went up to the trailhead, and walked… Continue reading

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Range (shown in red) of the northern flying squirrel in Alaska. (Source: Alaska Fish and Game)

Refuge Notebook: Myth or mystery — flying squirrels on the Kenai

The northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is somewhat of an enigma to the Kenai Peninsula. While it has an established home in the Interior and… Continue reading

Range (shown in red) of the northern flying squirrel in Alaska. (Source: Alaska Fish and Game)
Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp (kneeling) is pictured with the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park volunteer group who cleared South Eldred Trail during National Trails Day on June 5. The group was able to clear half a mile of the trail. Pictured left to right are Kristine Moerlein, Amy Holman, Kathy Sarns, Lyn Maslow, Ruth Dickerson and Kris Holderied. (Photo by Michael Singer)

Out of the Office: Finding Home in Alaska

“The story is it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s unfriendly and there are wild animals that’ll eat you.” That is the story of Alaska, or so… Continue reading

Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp (kneeling) is pictured with the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park volunteer group who cleared South Eldred Trail during National Trails Day on June 5. The group was able to clear half a mile of the trail. Pictured left to right are Kristine Moerlein, Amy Holman, Kathy Sarns, Lyn Maslow, Ruth Dickerson and Kris Holderied. (Photo by Michael Singer)
A Dytiscidae larva (water tiger) spotted in a pond adjacent to the pipeline corridor within the Kenai Wildlife Refuge in June 2020 (USFWS/Matt Bowser)

Refuge Notebook: The little-known predator of the seasonal pond

Not to be confused with the more noticeable surface whirligig beetles that swim in a circle, predaceous diving beetles will most often be under the water tension.

A Dytiscidae larva (water tiger) spotted in a pond adjacent to the pipeline corridor within the Kenai Wildlife Refuge in June 2020 (USFWS/Matt Bowser)
Eileen Sorensen taunts her dog, Hana, with fresh caught and cooked blue claw crabs in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Good Grief

They say that grief washes over you in waves, but I just jumped in.

Eileen Sorensen taunts her dog, Hana, with fresh caught and cooked blue claw crabs in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy Kat Sorensen)
Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Homer Spit looking like its own self again

Chinook fishing looks good in the fishing hole — but watch out for those seals.

Nick Varney
A young bear grazes on roadside horsetails off Skilak Lake Road. (Colin Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Lots to spot this spring on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Fluffs of shiny black fur, russet red velvety noses, bright yellow mouths open wide. Spring babies will be making an appearance on the Kenai National… Continue reading

A young bear grazes on roadside horsetails off Skilak Lake Road. (Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
Ranger Nick Longobardi recording GoPro footage for Facebook content to bring sights from the refuge into your homes. (Photo by MJ Hendren/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Adaptation as consistency?

This year has been one for the books. Many of us had to change and adapt the way we function in our everyday lives. The… Continue reading

Ranger Nick Longobardi recording GoPro footage for Facebook content to bring sights from the refuge into your homes. (Photo by MJ Hendren/USFWS)
A male rufous hummingbird flashes his brilliant gorget after being captured for banding. This bird was banded in 2020 and returned to Seward for another breeding season. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Summer hummers

Recently, I was in Seward attempting to catch and band the first rufous hummingbird of the year. We had seen the bird the day before,… Continue reading

A male rufous hummingbird flashes his brilliant gorget after being captured for banding. This bird was banded in 2020 and returned to Seward for another breeding season. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)
This is me standing in front of the Denali National Park and Preserve sign on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: The weekend

By the second week of March, I had pretty much forgotten about the dry cabin I’d booked for the next weekend. I’d made reservations from… Continue reading

This is me standing in front of the Denali National Park and Preserve sign on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Looking east towards the sun rising over Caribou Island. (Photo provided by refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Paddling Tustumena

By JOHN MORTON Alaska Wildlife Alliance

Looking east towards the sun rising over Caribou Island. (Photo provided by refuge)
Photos courtesy John Schoen
Mary Beth Schoen admires a large-tree old-growth stand in Saook Bay on northeastern Baranof Island. Some individual trees were over 6 feet in diameter and many centuries old. This riparian area was adjacent to a salmon stream and was full of bear trails. Large-tree old growth stands are rare on the Tongass.
Photos courtesy John Schoen
Mary Beth Schoen admires a large-tree old-growth stand in Saook Bay on northeastern Baranof Island. Some individual trees were over 6 feet in diameter and many centuries old. This riparian area was adjacent to a salmon stream and was full of bear trails. Large-tree old growth stands are rare on the Tongass.
Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Vice President and Outreach Chair Poppy Benson collects litter from the side of the highway at the refuge in Soldotna, Alaska on Friday, April 30, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Spring cleaning

Volunteers turn out to remove refuse from the refuge

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Vice President and Outreach Chair Poppy Benson collects litter from the side of the highway at the refuge in Soldotna, Alaska on Friday, April 30, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
A group of skiers make their way along a trail behind Skyview High School, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Black Stone Axe Ridge Warm Up Rally at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna lends support to Tsalteshi grant request

The trails association recently applied for a grant through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

A group of skiers make their way along a trail behind Skyview High School, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Black Stone Axe Ridge Warm Up Rally at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
Large flocks of Pacific brant depend on a few key areas, especially Izembek Lagoon. (Photo by Heather Wilson/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: The outlook for Pacific brant

After a multiweek weather delay, Biologist/Pilot Heather Wilson and I took off from Kenai just before noon, Jan. 31, in a Cessna 206 on amphibious… Continue reading

Large flocks of Pacific brant depend on a few key areas, especially Izembek Lagoon. (Photo by Heather Wilson/USFWS)
This photo taken in October 2017 shows author Kat Sorensen with the first fish she ever caught using a fly rod! (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Throwbacks

There’s still a box of fancy heels and short, summer dresses wasting away in my parents’ basement right where I dumped them over four years… Continue reading

This photo taken in October 2017 shows author Kat Sorensen with the first fish she ever caught using a fly rod! (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)