Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ptarmigan: Alaska state bird.

So we did launch last night and the camera steering did not go as I had practiced but was not a complete disaster.  Also, I was able to see some really amazing aurora looking directly up the local field line for quite a while before the launch.  I even saw some really cool "vortex streets" in the aurora which hopefully I will have a picture of at some point.

Today I packed up most of the camera stuff so that I will be ready to go tomorrow morning.  While I was out I saw a ton of three-toed animal tracks.  Three toes should mean a bird but the tracks were pretty big.  It turns out they were ptarmigan tracks.  The ptarmigan have "fur" on their feet (and beaks) so that they don't sink into the snow - like snowshoes.  Pretty cool except the ptarmigan seemed to think of the area behind our building as a toilet - I saw TONS of ptarmigan poop, they must eat lots of grass in the winter.

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