KTNA Studio – Dave Totten, artist

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by Dora Miller

KTNA Studio

KTNA On Air Studio, Jan 2013

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by James Trump

Winter Black-capped Chickadee

winter chickadee

Photo by Robin Song

Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song


Susitna Writer’s Voice–“Spring in the Bog”, by Robin Song

Sunday, June 26, 2016


A closer look at some of the inhabitants of area wetlands,

and some interesting relationships between them.


As winter changed into spring in the wetlands east of the house where I have been living just south of Willow, my excursions there with my two dogs grew more interesting. On the morning of April twenty-second, when I let the girls outside, I was surprised to find a pair of Lesser Sandhill Cranes standing at the edge of the forest in the large clearing just east of the house. They walked slowly through the long brown grass, exposed by the melted snow, unimpressed at being watched by two dogs, a human, and two cats. For the next few weeks I heard them calling out in the wetlands-sometimes flying, sometimes stationary. By mid-June they were apparently nesting, for they had grown quiet, not wanting to draw attention to their nest site. I’d occasionally hear them very late at night, calling from the same area. Cranes have been nesting in the wetlands for several years-perhaps decades before people moved into the area. I hope the wetlands remain their nesting territory for many more decades to come. (more…)

Talkeetna-Trapper Creek birders find 78 species

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Birdathon group by KWriter-IMG_1658

2016 Birdathoners, by Katie Writer


Many area birders were enthusiastically surprised at the number of different bird species which “turned out” for this year’s 24 hour Talkeetna-Trapper Creek Birdathon, held over the weekend. The group tallied up 78 species, which is the highest total since 2005, a year that also had an early spring.

Former resident Robert Ambrose had the highest individual total, with 60 species of birds. His biking partner Bill FitzGerald counted just two less. They biked over sixty miles to win the Birdathon crowns, once again demonstrating that “green” birding is no disadvantage, at least for them!

Local guide Wade Hopkins also birded without a motorized vehicle. He hiked and thrashed his way up to Papa Bear Lake, using his pack raft to cross rivers and creeks, spent the night in a bivvy sack, and floated to Talkeetna, fishing and birding all day. He found a Hooded Merganser, which hadn’t been recorded in eight years, saw the only flock of Tundra Swans, and discovered a group of about 40 male Horned Grebes.  Wade also saw a couple adult black bears and two cubs-of-the-year.


Susitna Writer’s Voice–“Springtime Trip to Hatcher Pass, (Jessa’s First Trip)” by Robin Song

Sunday, May 8, 2016

the creek,April 2,2016With all the rain and ice making for a pretty dismal winter in Willow, I wanted to go see how spring was progressing in Hatcher Pass. I drove up April second, but not having four-wheel drive- when I got into slushy snow about a mile past the winter gate, I parked and switched to skis. My dogs-Lyra and Darby- were thrilled, but I soon found that the ice bridges across the creek had all collapsed and I couldn’t get out where I wanted to go. I had to pick my way along on top of the snow machine trail beside the road. That wasn’t much fun, and after about a mile and a half, I turned back. I decided to make the trip again later in the month.

Jessa,Lyra-& Darby,end of plowed rd


Susitna Writer’s Voice–StarDate Susitna, by Kathleen Fleming

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kathleen for StarDate

Events in the night sky for the whole month of May are covered, including three celestial objects visible to late night sky observers, an explanation of why May Day is the appropriate first day of summer, the moon’s location and resulting tides, Jupiter’s movement in the second week of May, the transit of Mercury, the full moon of May, and Mars at opposition.






Susitna Writer’s Voice–“Scientific Truth vs. Political Agendas”, by Bill Was

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Canine Snowplows

An essay by Talkeetna resident Bill Was,

from his blog at talkeetnatraces.com

In the wake of the UN sponsored meetings in Paris covering climate change once again the ‘news’ – and I use this term very loosely – is abuzz with the gamut of views from outright denial to fanatical following. I concur that the earth’s climate appears to be warming but I remain very unsure as to what part human beings have played in this scenario especially as versed with how much of this change stems from some naturally occurring geologic pattern or meteorologically based shifts.


Susitna Writer’s Voice–StarDate Susitna, by Kathleen Fleming

Monday, February 15, 2016

Kathleen for StarDate

The three, (not five), planets in our morning sky,

an upcoming near miss of the Moon and a star, and other astro-info

about our unique perspective on the heavens above.

Susitna Writer’s Voice– “The Murre Invasion”, part two, by Robin Song

Monday, January 18, 2016


I left off my last story- which was ‘part one’ of the “Murre Invasion”- heading back to my temporary residence in Willow after having spent December 30th in Talkeetna. Billy Fitzgerald and Tod Marder had taken some rescued Murres by snowmachine to an open lead of water in the Su, about a mile north of the Talkeetna river confluence. Originally I had been asked to take Murres to the Alaska Wild Bird Treatment Center in Houston, but because the birds were healthy and open water had been located, it was decided to release them back to the wild. Being pelagic diving birds with legs set well back on their bodies, they need water in order to take flight, although, in just the right conditions, they have been observed taking off from land, but it’s extremely difficult for them. Murre beside the Parks @ Caswell Lodgesafely in box


Susitna Writer’s Voice — “The Murre Invasion” , part one, by Robin Song

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Photos by Billy FitzGerald

Last October I noticed a posting in our local Northern Susitna Birders group on the Internet about a sighting of a grounded Common Murre in the Talkeetna area. I thought that was odd. A seabird so far inland? What was that about? Over November and into December, a few more sporadic sightings were posted. I was intrigued.


Another posting on December nineteenth: Starving Murres were being found all over South Central. Some were taken to the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage, rehabbed and released in salt water. Dozens of Murres were reported in Seward- some washed up dead on shore, having starved. What was going on?IMG_8179 (more…)

Susitna Writer’s Voice- “Wasilla Eagle’s Nest”, by Robin Song

Monday, January 4, 2016

In the summer of 2014 I visited a Bald Eagle’s nest I know of in Wasilla. I’d been going to visit a nest site a few hundred yards north of it for years, but that nest had been abandoned and storms had taken it apart. Now a new nest had been built in a cottonwood and a new pair of eagles was raising their first clutch of two eaglets. I spent an hour photographing the birds, that first visit, with the dad sitting on a branch above the nest, waiting for his mate to return with food for the two hungry youngsters. I was just about to leave when the eaglets started calling in their high-pitched, squeaky voices, denoting they had spotted mom. I swung the camera up just in time to catch her coming in, a salmon clutched in her talons.

use this for sure--080614,mom returns with headless salmon

use this for sure--mom feeds fish to three eaglets,0626

Dad Eagle defending nest,060515