in and around Atlin
Hein and Wil website
is situated on the edge of a huge wilderness area, it will be no surprise
to hear we have many wild beasts and birds frequenting our small community.
The neighbouring pond attracts many migratory birds in spring and fall, on
their way to their breeding grounds further north in the tundra.
on any of the pictures will open a new window with an enlargement.
Moose are resident in
the area. In the winter they even come into our yard to snip off the dried
flowers that still stick out above the snow. Mostly we see them at dusk
and dawn: difficult light conditions: hence no pictures.
Even though foxes are also coming out to our yard later in the evening,
this one I captured strolling through our yard somewhat earlier in the day.
In the last years coyotes seem to have pushed foxes out of the area.
Of the smaller mammals, an interesting little fellow is the vole. In the
2006-2007 winter we had many of these. They had long runways under the huge
snowcover of that winter. In the spring you can tell whether it has been
a good vole year when the lawn is all hatched grass and the stems of the
wild rose bushes are all de-"barked" just above groundlevel.
mammals are all indigenous to the area. Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, wolf and
nowadays more coyotes.
animal for bear but especially wolves are the Mountain Caribou of the Atlin
The other day while
walking with Frodo, our dog, in the woods starting from our house we came
across some mounts of half digested berries: bear(s) in the neighbourhood!
That's why we always make sure we carry our canisters of bear spray even
if we go on a bike ride along the Atlin Road. We see too many of them and
actually Hein on a trainingsrun ran into one some time ago. No harm done
that time: the (black) bear was just as startled as he was.
the avian residents we have the finches, the white-crowned and the golden-crowned
sparrows, warblers, blackbirds and the real cute Rufous Hummingbird, here
at the far northern limit of their breeding range.
big N-American raptors are present. Regularly we see Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles
and Ospreys. I know of at least three Osprey nest within an hour sailing distance
of Atlin, one of which we can spy upon from our bedroom window.
Harrier patrols the alkali flats just next to our house. Generally they migrate
south for the winter but I have seen this bird swooping back and forth as
late as 7 December.
Grouse are around all year as well. A family seems to have taken up residence
among the bushes in our back alley. This bird sat in the tree in our backyard.
Frodo loves to chase these birds into the trees on our walk through the bush.
in the spring many species just drop in on us for a few hours or days, refuel
and then carry on to breed further north on the tundra, among them:
this is only a very small sampling of the wild creatures that surround us
and make our life so rich.
During the winter
we do not see many birds.
From farther north we see the Pine Grossbeaks pass the winter in the trees
and shrubs around our house. Of course the chickadees keep us company throughout
soon as the weather moderates in March and before the last snow has disppeared,
the first migrants are showing up: Canada Geese are among those first arrivals.
Eagle surveying its territory
(Ursus horribiles) were frequenting the Atlin Road in the fall of 2009.
Unfortunately some yahoo saw it fit to shoot at least one of the majestic
I found this dead Short Tailed
Weasel (Mustela erminea) in the back alley next to our woodpile. I don't know
what caused his demise. Since most of these Mustelidae are nocturnal it is
difficult to get a good picture.
Apparently this animal is the strongest in the world relative to its bodyweight
the fall we see these big flocks of Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus)
congregating in the aspen trees around the house. Any bushes with berries left
or trees with half frozen apples are stripped clean in no time.