Monday, October 5, 2009

First Bear a Success!

It's been a busy weekend here in Deadhorse. Friday evening we took a cruise down the Dalton highway for a little wildlife viewing. We saw quite a few short-eared owls, a red fox, and a pretty cool musk ox. After our little excursion south, we spent Saturday getting the last few things in place for our field work. Our pilots flew up the whole way from Wasilla in their helicopters and arrived in Deadhorse late that afternoon. All our hard work on Saturday paid off, our crew captured the first bears of the year on Sunday afternoon. The female was right around 450 lbs, so not too big for a polar bear.

Here's the red fox we saw on our drive down the Dalton highway. There are also quite a few arctic fox on the North Slope. I'll try and get a photo of one soon. They are a bit smaller than the red fox shown here, and change color to a creamy white in the winter time.

Now that is an animal adapted to cold weather. Usually musk ox are seen in herds, but we found this one off by itself. Although they look pretty big, their size is probably enhanced by all that hair. Musk ox average about 600-700 lbs.

Here's close-up view of the Dalton highway. I'll try not to focus on my love of Ice Road Truckers too much, but this is the road they drive on. Pretty humble when you're up close.

Sunset is just around the corner. Sunrise is currently 8:30 am, and sunset is about 7:00pm. However, we're losing 8 minutes of daylight per day as the days are getting shorter.
Hello polar bears! Kind of fun to seem them up close and personal.


  1. Hey clark its delta from Mrs. Bane's science class at LJHS. This is sooooo cool! the road looks like it would be really hard to drive on though. The polar bears are pretty cool! They look all fuzzy! Maybe i'll try that someday but in the meantime, have fun in alaska!

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