First, I went to a couple of beaches with Ian and Mac. It is a bit strange to go to the beach when there is snow on the ground, but I really enjoyed it. I even found a few ferns. I am looking forward to start studying botany when there are more plants around.
I then went for a walk out the mudflats by the airport. I didn’t see any rare birds (apparently, there might be a McKay’s bunting out here), but I did find some brant and a shoveler, although they shouldn’t be here in the winter. I was also very, very lucky to see a pod of orca whales out in the distance, just beyond a group of scoters that I was unsuccessfully trying to identify. I also took the mandatory bald eagle photo. Yes, I am a little sick of bald eagle pictures, but after all – they are pretty cool looking.
I then went with Mac to look for mountain goats on the side of Mount Juneau. It was quite a fascinating trip. Mac knows a lot about the local area (he grew up here), and about the mountain goats (he's been paying close attention to their movement for a long time). Mountain goats are - to my surprise - mostly a forest-dwelling animal here. They spend most of the year in forested slopes close to cliffs over which they can escape. It was odd to see mountain goat tracks, feces, and sleeping spots all over the forest, and to need crampons to negociate ice-covered ridges in the trees!