Monday, March 11, 2013

Harbor Life

After a frequently rainy January and February we finally got some well-earned sun.  The clouds parted over Petersburg revealing those sorely missed colors of the season.  Perhaps the brightest spots in town are in the harbors where boats painted every color of paint sold in ship stores festoon the waterfront -- spreading their shimmering reflections across the sheltered waters.  While the variety of commercial fishing boats proves to be a major attraction, the variety of wildlife that finds its way among the boats in winter is what most excites Karen and me.

Petersburg’s harbor lies at the north end of Wrangell Narrows.  Here tidal fluctuations can exceed 24 feet in just 6 1/2 hours.   The resulting currents carry rich nutrients that work their way through the food chain making this a haven for over-wintering waterfowl including several thousand sea ducks.  From our deck or down by the shore, we love to watch  flock after flock fly out of the Narrows every evening as they head out into Frederick Sound for the night.  During the summer nesting season these same birds will disperse through Alaska, the Yukon and beyond.  Of course, every fall we look forward to their return.

And so, Karen took advantage of those sunny days to see if she could capture some images for future paintings.  The harbor delivered.  She returned with decent shots of ten species of ducks plus eagles, crows, gulls, ravens, a great blue heron and a sea lion.

Here’s a sampling of the fruits of her labor.

                   A pair of male surf scoters, one of three species of scoters that overwinter here. 

A pair of male long-tailed ducks pass a boat.   This species was formerly known as Oldsquaw, but their more colorful name was changed to be more politically correct.

                                        A male Barrow's Goldeneye pops up after a dive....

                        While a White-winged scoter heads into the depths to find it's next meal.

Sea lions can be found in our harbor year-round.  Several years ago one big male sent several of us plein air painters scurrying for safety.  We didn't really want to share the float with a wet and smelly 1500 pound "art aficionado."

Perhaps some of these images will inspire Karen's future paintingsIt's always exciting to see what that right brain of hers harbors.


Cindi said...

Great shot of diving waterfowl/ As soon as I try to photograph the goldeneyes, they seem to pop under the surface!

Cindi said...
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Don and Karen Cornelius Artwork said...

Karen says thanks, Cindi. She got the shot and others at the crane dock in South Harbor.