“What’s That Up In The Sky..?” Part 2

I awoke this morning to clear skies and a refreshingly cool 49.5° F air temp along with calm winds; how could I not pull on some clothes, step into my sandals, grab a couple of leads (just in case) and head out the door with ‘the kidz’ ranging ahead of me?  We took a 40 minute walk reveling in the gorgeous morning; as usual for this area it was completely silent except for some local birds including a couple of Chickadees I feed who followed us for a ways complaining because the window feeder was almost empty.  I, of course, remedied that upon our return.  After 26 consecutive days of report-able precipitation seeing both the sun and drying conditions has been wonderful.  As we walked I had my Canon PowerShot SX-260 camera with me and I recorded a bit of our fun:

The Kidz in Muskeg

The Kidz exploring some muskeg.

Gorgeous Purple Flower

Don’t know what they are but that doesn’t diminish their beauty!

Signs of Approaching Fall

When this plant’s leaves turn to this fiery red Fall is not far away…

Yet Another 'Shroom With A Leaf Floating Atop It

Yet another ‘shroom with upturned edges which has a small pool of water atop it in which a leaf is floating.

Early AM Wanderers

Early morning wanderers; Anana and Qanuk are embracing the chance to walk the back roads and take time to scent who knows what. The ‘smoke’ you see around Qanuk is actually his hot breath condensing in the cool morning air.

What’s That Up In The Sky..?!?

Just an hour back I noticed something strange; the windows were actually appearing ‘bright’ and when I peeked outside I could see shadows!  A look upward gave me the reason; the sun was actually visible!!  I was quite pleased to see it once again and for me that’s unusual as I favor cloudy, cool weather.  But this has been a very wet August to this point in semi-rural south central Alaska.  This is Monday, August 15th and it has rained every day this month accumulating 4.18” as of 07:00 this morning.  While August is our wettest month the average monthly rainfall is 4.5” which means we’re already at 92.9% of said monthly average yet we are just 48.4% of the way into the month.

 Here are some signs of a wet August and the coming fall:

Leaves Floating on 'Shrooms

Some already yellow birch leaves floating atop a couple of dying mushrooms


Typical 'Shroom with Non-typical Shadow

Typical ‘shroom for this area with a non-typical shadow!

Female Spruce Grouse on EBD

Female Spruce Grouse on Easy Barge Drive; when they begin to appear you know summer is winding down

Early Signs of Fall

Not sure what the plants are but when the leaves begin to turn brilliant red fall is not too far distant

Very Wet Boreal Forest

Very wet boreal forest; the shimmering effect on the plants is due to being coated with rain drops

Fall Sure Comes On Fast Up Here..!!

Even though this is my second fall – and, yes, I know fall technically starts on the Autumnal Equinox which is still eleven days out but it sure feels like it’s fall – I’m still amazed by just how rapidly the season arrives in this area.  Just two weeks ago everything was varying shades of green; now when I look out my office window I see this gorgeous display:

Gorgeous patchwork of fall color created by 'ground level' plants common to the boreal forest

Gorgeous patchwork of fall color created by ‘ground level’ plants common to the boreal forest

As bright as the image appears it was actually raining lightly from overcast skies when I took this picture earlier this morning.  In addition the birch trees are rapidly changing over to yellows and golds; the dwarf dogwood are already showing their bright red berries which contrast so starkly against their still dark green leaves although soon said leaves will shift to a bright red color as well.

With August and September normally being the two wettest months the mushrooms are abundant; I wish I knew much more about the various types as I suspect some are edible and I do love my ‘fungus’ but I also know enough to steer clear of them as without the required knowledge and experience one could well end up dead from sampling them.  Here’s a few of the myriad of types I see around my place:

I often see 'shrooms growing in bunches no doubt due to earlier growths dropping lots of spores

I often see ‘shrooms growing in bunches no doubt due to earlier growths dropping lots of spores

There's definitely a lot of 'fungus amongst us'..!

There’s definitely a lot of ‘fungus among us’..!

Many are just plain pretty in terms of coloration!

Many are just plain pretty in terms of coloration!

No surprise the 'shrooms would like growing new the moose scat!

No surprise the ‘shrooms would like growing new the moose scat!

It is kinda sad that within another couple of weeks the deciduous trees will be largely bare and the ground colors faded away to dull browns and greens in preparation for another winter.  But given my love of the winter season up here I just view their passing as Mother Nature offering up one last blast of color before the blues, greens and whites that dominate the winter season.  We are about two weeks ahead of where things were in terms of the color change last year; this season is much closer to ‘typical’ and has truly served to highlight just how aberrant were last fall’s warm and wet conditions.  While I do miss the vibrant reds, oranges and purples of the hardwood trees in the lower 48 the low growth on the taiga and tundra do produce a beautiful carpet in the fall.  Here’s an image from the Savage River basin within Denali NP&P that exemplifies this coloration:

The valley area around Savage River Station in Denali NP&P seen in early September color

The valley area around Savage River Station in Denali NP&P seen in early September color