Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sweet Smell of Summer

Several species of flowers are now in bloom and the tundra vegetation is greening up nicely. One of my favorite flowers is the Rock Jasmine – Androsace chamaejasme, which has  a very fragrant smell.  It grows in large patches in sandy areas here in the Colville River Delta and  the breezes carry the lovely fragrance about the area.



Rock Jasmine




So far the spring and early summer has been on the cool side, and the warm spell of the past two days really brought out the mosquitoes.  This was the worst I have seen them around on our island.  Even with a stiff breeze they were everywhere and one was glad to have a good headnet or bug spray in order to enjoy being outside.




Mosquitoes attracted to a fresh set of caribou antlers that are still in the velvet.



Some of the other early flowers that we have out now are Purple Saxifrage - Saxifraga oppositifolis subsp. oppositifolia, Wooly Lousewort -Pedicularis kanei subsp. kanei , Parry’s Wallflower - Parrya nudicaulis,  Arctic Sweet Coltsfoot - Petasites frigidus, White Avens - Dryas integrifolia subsp. integrifolia,  Marsh Marigold - Caltha palustris subsp. arctica,  Snow Buttercup - Ranunculus nivalis, Mastodon Flower – Senecio congestus, and Northern Primrose - Primula borealis.



UPDATE:      The Muskox family has continued to stay in the local area, feeding either on our island or the one just to the west of us.  Even when they are at the far end of the island, we still have a good view of the cow and calf in the spotting scope.  At times they have fed down to the north end and close to the house.   One foggy morning they even fed around the lake and right past the house.  It has been fun watching the calf,  who has grown quite a bit since we first saw them in early May.   The cow is shedding her soft wool-like underhair, also called qiviut, so she is now looking quite shaggy compared to her earlier pictures.




  Cow muskox shedding her soft undercoat and looking quite shaggy.  Also you can see lots of mosquitoes buzzing around her. With her long hair she  seemed to be only bothered around her ears and face.



Cow and calf muskox feeding on sedges and short Arctic willow.

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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.