Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spring arrivals

Last summer a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of birding. Though not a large variety around Iqaluit, there are a number of small songbirds, waterfowl and raptors around.
I’ve been able to get some cute photos of the wee songbirds and am in awe of their hardiness. They arrive when before the snow has completely melted and depart on a good wind in the arctic autumn.

Hoary Redpoll

Northern Pintail

Snow Geese

Everyone is getting busy with the spring season, mating, eating, training their young during the short summer for the return trip to winter grounds.
Hopefully some of the others will show up soon. I did see the Lapland Larkspur, I’ve yet to spot the American Pipit or the Horned Lark.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Slow spring

The townsfolk are getting antsy for spring. Me included, so to beat the cabin fever I’ve taken up a new hobby. Yes I have now successfully preserved two skulls. Some think it’s morbid, but honestly, it reminds me of our mortality and especially our frailty.

This is a ptarmigan skull, very small and paper thin.

 Seal skull, it’s teeth are surprisingly sharp and serrated.

The seal was for my nephew, I had purchased the seal for dog meat for my pet. It seemed a shame to discard the head for the ravens. So I set about learning how to prepare an animal skeleton.
I’m quite pleased with the results and my nephew loved the unique gift. Seal is a bit trickier if I cut myself during the preparation, the infection could result in seal finger. Seal finger requires medical treatment and is unique from other infections.

The ptarmigan was my second attempt, now there is no risk of getting seal finger with a ptarmigan and the smaller skull was much more delicate to work with.

What is striking about both skulls is the size of their eyeball sockets in relationship to their skull.  Perhaps a biologist would be able to advise on that, I suspect the bird has big eyes to improve it’s night vision, and the seal for it’s life in the water.

Wonder what the next project will bring my way!

*the animals were killed legally by hunters, the ptarmigan hunter gladly provided me the skull upon request.*