22 April 2007
SnowSTAR woke up this morning at their Hornby Point campsite to strong winds and blowing snow--the remnants of a barrenlands blizzard howling to the north and east of them. They spent the morning in camp transferring their gas cache from fuel drums into gas cans and some of the crew searched the vicinity of their camp for remnants of the Hornby cabin or grave markers. With deep snow in the trees they found no sign of Hornby. Matthew's soundclip tonight talks about John Hornby and how he and two companions died of starvarion at this very spot in 1927. By midday the weather was showing some signs of improvement so the Expedition broke camp and headed down the scenic Thelon River. Despite a late start and less than ideal weather they made almost 70 miles for the day and are camped tonight at a place called Lookout Point. Henry also provides us with a daily weather report in Sapnish and we have some great photos in the written dispatch on ptarmigan. Tomorrow the team will likely move beyond the trees of the Thelon Oasis and return to the barrenlands.
Click Here for Soundclip From Matthew
CHUGIAK STUDENTS Click Here for Weather in Espanol
Camp 38 Location: 64 10'N 102 35'W
Distance Today 106 km (66 miles)
Weather: Morning Blizzard, Light Snow & winds 30mph, Clearing in Afternoon -17C
In summer, the Arctic is home to millions of birds of many different
species. Most of these birds spend their winters far to the south. One kind
of bird that stays in the Arctic year-round is the ptarmigan. This small,
grouse-like bird turns white in winter and brown in summer, making it hard
to see and protecting it from predators.
Ptarmigan often live in flocks, from a few birds to many hundreds all
together. They can fly, but not very well. When you approach a flock, they
often start walking away. They will only fly when they have to. Ptarmigan
also have a distinctive call, which sounds something like a croak.
To help them keep warm, ptarmigan have feathers on their feet. The Latin or
scientific name for ptarmigan is Lagopus lagopus, which means
If a ptarmigan needs to shelter from a blizzard, it dives into a soft bank
of snow, emerging when the storm is over. Doesn't that sound cozy?
Come spring, the ptarmigan start looking for the high points on the tundra
that melt free earliest. The males pick a spot and defend it for a nest. A
good spot attracts a female mate.
What kinds of birds do you have where you live? How many live there all
year, and how many migrate to different places? Do any of the birds in your
area migrate to the Arctic?