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These two Common Ravens greeted me when I got out of my car to walk the dogs. Well, one raven greeted me, the other one hung back. Clearly, the first raven was bossing around the second raven. I believe they had me confused with someone who had fed them in the past. And the gull was just hanging out.

We arrived in Juneau at 7 am and got to check into our hotel immediately. A friend who we’d only met once before, here in the valley, said she’d take us to see the sights. That was super nice of Rebecca and her dog Tilli. Tilli is an English Shepard in training to be a search and rescue dog. We had a terrific time seeing the Mendenhall Glacier and downtown Juneau.

As we departed the ferry, we were invited by union members to participate in a protest at the state capitol steps at noon. It seems that the governor has proposed cutting the funding for the Alaska Marine Highway system. These ferries are often the only way for Alaskan’s to get around since many small towns are off the road system. They also provide much-needed tourism dollars to the economy. You can read about the protest here. If you look closely at the photos, you can see Rebecca and me.

After she went to work, we rode the tram overlooking the town and then wandered around downtown, looking at all the cruise ship tourists. Cruise ships have changed the character of many of the small towns of Alaska although they also provide tourism dollars. Always a trade-off.

There were lots of opportunities to watch coyotes in Yellowstone. I’ve read that their population decreased after the wolves returned so maybe we were just in the right spots to see them. They often scavenge on remains of wolf kills. There was a dead, probably winter-killed bison near the road and each time we drove by it, there were two or maybe three coyotes nearby.

I like coyotes and admire their tenacity and adaptability. And I enjoy hearing them howl. They live here but since it always seems to be open season on coyotes, they are very furtive and don’t let themselves be seen very often. Who can blame them?

We just returned from a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park. For some people, that might seem counter intuitive but for me, it’s been a long time coming – a real bucket list trip. Now that I’ve gone once, I can’t wait to visit there in the winter again.

While we saw lots of charismatic megafauna and I had opportunities to photograph many of them, my favorite photos from the trip are these of the Common Ravens in the Tower Junction area. This pair seemed to dominate the parking lot where there was a dumpster, recycling bins and toilets. I have no doubt that they are true scavengers living off what we humans leave behind. I think they also were very used to people and have probably been fed many times. When another pair of ravens flew overhead, these two hopped up and down on a snowbank making threatening calls. I think they were saying “Get out of here, this is our place.” They are beautiful and smart birds.

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