Friday, August 12, 2011


This couldn't have made for a better last post before I head into the chilly Arctic waters that lie ahead.

My friend Luke DeCicco and I ventured into Chugach State Park hoping to find my life Northern Wheatear. While we were almost to the turn-off, a guy noticed our cameras and binoculars but walked on by. Thankfully, he decided to turn back around and brag that he just saw a Wolverine. Luke and I didn't believe him until he grabbed his camera and showed us pictures of the beast. We had a choice, go left for the Wheatear, a life bird, or right for a very slim chance at re-finding a Wolverine. Luke mentioned that even if you have a 1/1000 chance of seeing a Wolverine, you go for the Wolverine. So we did.

After a while of not seeing anything except a few Golden-crowned Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers, we were joking around and had given up hope on the creature that is a Wolverine. Just then, the beast in all of it's glory trotted onto the path not even 30 meters ahead of us and we nearly lost bowel control. It gave us the best looks we could ever ask for and then some. My camera acted up, and it was on the shadow-side of the mountain, so I didn't get great pictures, but Luke got amazing ones. I can't post his pictures since I don't have permission, but I'll post my terribly blurry ones.
After the Wolverine paused in the path, stopped and looked at us for ~40 seconds, I finally managed to peel my eyes off my binoculars and got my camera working. By that time, the Wolverine was headed up the mountain.
This is possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life, right next to Polar Bear. Because Wolverines are so nomadic and densities are so low, and habitat is everywhere, it makes ever finding one of these creatures nearly impossible. They are also extremely vicious, known to fight Wolf and Bear off of their kill. Honestly, this is one animal I figured I would never see in my life. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will never be forgotten.

Tomorrow morning I head off to get on the Norseman II and depart into the Beaufort Sea for 3 weeks of seabird surveys. I'll update you when I'm back!

Life is good!

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