Monday, March 19, 2012

Moose Sightings - 2012

This fall Doug & I both commented that we had seen no moose all summer - not even in the very common places where we always see lots of them. But with all the snow this winter, the moose have been driven down from the high country to places where it is easier for them to walk and find food. Because of the severe winter, many of them are starving and a record number have been killed on the roads. 495 so far just in our valley! That does not count the ones who are injured. They have begun a program to feed them to keep them off the roadways. It is difficult for them to get through the heavy snow, so they take the path of least resistance - the highways and roads. So we have had lots of sightings this winter. We were skiing last weekend at a nearby school trail. When we were finished we drove past the front side of the trail and saw two moose in a yard. We had just skied on the trail past the back of that house twice within the last 30 minutes. I am glad we did not meet them on the trail.

Beside the road (Hyer Road) that goes into our neighborhood.

This moose, like most of them, was pretty unconcerned when we stopped by the road to take her picture. But I think the longer we sat there, the more she didn't appreciate our presence. Note that in the first pictures her ears were straight up when she looked at us. In subsequent pictures her ears became more laid back - NOT a good sign. Seeing that she was beginning to get a bit unamused, we went on our merry way.

We spotted these two moose beside the road when we were on our way to the Willow airport to meet our pilot who took us to the Junior Iditarod checkpoint. When we were in the air, we saw a huge number of moose around the airport.

Both of these were bull calves. You can see where they are beginning to get their antlers. Doug would still like to go to Point MacKenzie, where he knows several farmers, to pick up some moose sheds (antlers they have dropped). The only problem is that not only are the moose thick, so are the brown bears in that area (also known as grizzly bears). I am a bit hesitant to go on that adventure!

We went to Anchorage last week and saw 12-15 moose on the Hay Flats. For those of you who have visited us, that is the area around the Knik River Bridge that is on the way to Anchorage. The Hay Flats used to be the most wonderful farm ground in the Valley. in 1964, when the huge Good Friday earthquake struck Alaska, the Hay Flats ground had sunk 8 feet when all was settled. The river backed up and covered the ground. It eventually became a swamp. It is still soft and spongy and no farming can be done on the area. Hundreds of acres of prime farm land were lost.