photos* by peter mather in ni’iinlii’njik territorial park, an arctic oasis dead centre on the arctic circle in canada’s northwest territories. the forest resembles a coastal temperate zone due to nitrogen that finds it’s way from the dead salmon into the ecosystem. salmon literally feed the entire ecosystem, from birds, bears and wolves to moss and trees - trees which tower over anything in the surrounding stunted black spruce forest and vast tundra.
ni’iinlii’njik, which means “where salmon spawn” in gwich’in, marks the end of a 1500 mile salmon migration upriver from the pacific ocean. in 1986, the first salmon count in ni’iinlii’njik was over 350,000 fish, but in recent years has dropped as low as 9,000 due to human mismanagement. the chum salmon run this year is expected to be around 35,000. of note, the grizzly bears who feed on the salmon are known as “ice bears” for the icicles that form on their hair when hunting in temperatures that drop below minus 20 celsius.
(*is the fifth picture overhead or underwater? i’m baffled either way)
Athene cunicularia (Strigidae)
Snow is blanketing much of the US today. Wildlife adapts – like this wolf at Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge. With its thick fur, large paws and long legs, the wolf has an easy time moving through snow.
Photo by Bob Dreeszen/ USFWS.
More about Alaska Peninsula Refuge: here
Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola)
Crab-plovers are a monotypic species, meaning they are the only bird in its Family/Genera. They are waders with webbed feet but are unique because they nest in burrows near sandy banks. As the picture suggests, they are gregarious creatures that feed and rest in groups.
"The chicks are also unique for the usually nidifugous waders in being unable to walk and remain in the nest for several days after hatching, having food brought to them. Even once they fledge they have a long period of parental care afterwards. Both males and females take care of the young.” - Wikipedia
Shot at Mandvi coast, Gujrat, India.
Sculptured by Jeff Uitto
Banff National Park by Spence Wine.