Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Road trip

Ah, life is good. Two old retired bags decided to head to Seward for the day on Tuesday, January 29. Lunch and a visit to the SeaLife Center were the agenda items for the day.

Jaz was the pilot of her Mini Cooper; I co-piloted and we got underway about 9:30 a.m. While the drive overall was quite relaxing both ways, there was a little bit of snow flurrying around us as we drove through some areas. But it was nothing we couldn't handle.

We arrived in Seward about noon and drove up and down a couple of the streets just to be sure we didn't miss anywhere that might be open for lunch that we might like to try. But it was back to an old standby – Cristo's. Not only was the food good, but it's just across the street from the SeaLife Center.

The SeaLife Center doesn't disappoint. I'd been down late in the summer last year to see one of the baby walruses that was on display before being shipped later to a zoo in the Lower 48. While there were no walruses, there was plenty to see. And it was a great visit because there were so few people there other than us.

I'd not mind having these crab legs on my plate.
We went into the bird area where there a number of birds in a big pond. They are separated from you only by the wall of the pond.

The birds don't seem to care how close you get to them as they come close to the wall where you stand.
The seals and sea lions are behind glass, but they are such a joy to watch. While photos don't turn out great, you can still see them pretty well. There is a lot of personality, and mostly it's playfulness and what rather appears to me to be a joking manner.

These two appeared to be sweet on each other.
This must be a female ... voicing her displeasure or whatever she might have been feeling at the time.
Not a bad shot considering all of these were taken through glass that had lots of water splash marks on it.
There is a petting zoo with starfish, but we chose to only take photos rather than touch. And there are tanks with starfish, salmon, rockfish and so much more.

This beautiful specimen of a starfish was so colorful with its purple and yellow coloring.
The SeaLife Center is a jewel for our state, and well worth the time to visit. Not only is it fun, but the drive or ride (if on a motorcycle), is usually pleasant with spectacular scenery and lunch is always in order.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13, 2012

It's a new year, with places to go, things to see, people to visit. Except I've been a bit lazy. You can tell. No recent blog.

However yesterday I invited my friend Jaz to go to something I'd seen advertised in the newspaper. I'm glad she went because I chose to not take a camera (dumb) so my photo support comes from her. Thank you, Jaz.

The Public Service Announcement read: Save the Eagles Day at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center (Bird TLC). Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the clinic; meet some of the education eagles. Snacks. Nothing wrong with any of this.

Cookies with cashew beaks, made to look like bald eagle heads.  Very clever.
Jaz and I arrived early, wanting to get a good parking spot. While we waited around we talked to Guy about volunteer opportunities … we'll make contact later. But I've found a new place to recycle newspapers.

In the front room was a crow named Kodi (originally from Kodiak). He's 12 years old and they think hand-raised by someone since he has no fear of people and doesn't know how to hunt. Squawk, squawk, squawk. Or maybe he was crowing. I don't know. But he was loud.

We were then invited to go into the back rooms where there were two bald eagles in one room and a golden eagle in another. These were beautiful birds.

The bald eagles, Hal and Petra, were alert. The white-feathered heads turned back and forth, yellow eyes followed people and missed nothing. But they didn't appear to be bothered by us either and remained mostly calm. Occasionally one or the other would flap its wings, but for the most part they stayed on their handler's leather-covered arms that rested on wooden sticks for support.

Petra and her handler.
Petra is 19; Hal is 23 and has a feather cowlick on the back of his head. Both have been at Bird TLC for years. Petra is the larger of the two, weighing in at about 23 pounds. Female birds (at least the ones they spoke to us about) are the larger of the species.

Beautiful Petra.
Denali, the golden eagle was a rich mahogony color, with golden highlights. You couldn't get hair these rich tones with all the coloring tools in the world. The golden eyes watched everyone, but particularly the youngsters. Small prey is what they eat. Perhaps small children have been considered prey in some parts of the world.

As we were getting ready to leave we discovered that Kodi (the crow) is a cash crow. He will take folded greenbacks from your hand and put them into a plastic container. I watched, and then had to do it myself. All I needed was photo support for proof. What a bird this is. He's as shiny as a high-gloss paint, with his feathers all smoothed down and in order, and he vocalizes often … for reasons only the crow would know. But he's very amusing.

Give that crow some cash.
Deposit complete.
Our visit was enlightening, and fun. And just in case you're interested, Bird TLC was started in 1988 by Anchorage veterinarian James Scott. The organization treats hundreds of sick, injured or orphaned wild birds each year, ranging from chickadees to bald eagles with the intent to allow the sick or injured to recover and be returned to the wild. The group also educates thousands of people with live education bird programs.

Bird TLC is a 501(3)(c) non-profit, always in need of volunteers and donations, either of cash or items such as paper towels, waterproof tarps and garbage bags to name a few. Check out the website at or call (907) 562-4852.