The CorvidEYE

E-l-e-c-t-r-i-f-y-i-n-g-!

Kyle_Vidad_250In what was one of the most tightly-contested spelling bees in recent memory, 27 grade-level finalists at Blatchley Middle School in Sitka spelled their way to word no. 208 on the official Scripps National Spelling Bee list Wednesday night (1-15-14). In the end it boiled down to eighth-grader Kyle Vidad and defending champion Abigail Fitzgibbon. The two went head-to-head for eight rounds, until Fitzgibbon tripped on "matriculation" and Vidad successfully spelled "smithereens" to win the round, and then "aerodynamic" to win the championship. Test a friend on these words Abby and Kyle spelled with nearly one-hundred fans looking on:

Trail makeover

This picturesque waterfall is actually the trail. Note the stepping stones at right. (Bill Foster photo)Three days of heavy rainfall has generated serious runoff problems, even in areas outside of Sitka. The Herring Cove Trail was first damaged by runoff during an unusual rain/snowmelt situation about five weeks ago, when water carved a new channel in the trail just below the log bridge at the upper falls. Now, water has filled that channel again, as local naturalist Bill Foster discovered this morning (Tue 1-14-14).

Starring: A Russian Orthodox Christmas tradition

Carolers gather at the home of Fr Michael Boyle on Russian Christmas for starring - the Orthodox practice of caroling. (KCAW photo/Emily Forman)It's Christmas today(1-7-14) in Russia, and for many Orthodox Sitkans. Russian Christmas is celebrated according to the old Julian calendar on January 7th, and in Sitka that tradition is audible. The week-long Feast of the Nativity celebration features a nativity "starring" - the Orthodox practice of caroling. Traditionally, revelers would stay out singing until dawn, sometimes for several days in a row.

Fish and Game butts in to protect the goats

Phil Mooney holds a sedated mountain goat. He will give the goat an injection to reverse the tranquilizing drug.  It takes 5-7 minutes for the goat to wake up and walk away, no worse for wear. (photo by Kevin White, Juneau goat researcher)The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced an emergency closure for mountain goat hunting in the North Fork Katlian River area in Sitka. Biologists have set a maximum guideline harvest objective of four male mountain goats, or one female mountain goat for the area.

A familiar carol, with a Southeast twist

131214_SJxmas_feature250At the lighting of the tree on the Sheldon Jackson campus, students from the Sitka Fine Arts Camp After School Carol Choir performed "The Twelve Days of Christmas" -- but with a Southeast Alaska twist: twelve raindrops falling, eleven boats a-floating, ten fish a-leaping, nine Russian dancers, eight deer a-prancing, sevens swans a-swimming, six eagles flying, five humpback whales, four totem poles, three brown bears, two XtraTufs...and one what? Listen to find out:

Near and deer

NEAR_and_DEER_feaFew things warm the hearts of Sitka's hunters like coming across a nice, fat buck in peak condition. Few things cool their enthusiasm like discovering a big brownie got there first! Hugh Bevan set up this trailcam "a couple of miles" from the beach on Kruzof Is. near Sitka. These two images (buck, then bear) were captured on October 18 and November 5 respectively. While the bear doesn't look like she could hold another bite after the summer's record salmon run, there's no doubt that she's interested!

Trick-or-treat trio

halloween girlsDespite some truly spooky weather, crowds in costume turned out for the Chamber of Commerce's annual downtown trick-or-treating on Halloween. This trio dressed up as fairy tale characters with a twist: they're (un)dead. Can you name them?

Salmon in the stream

Videographer Liz McKenzie recently sent us this fish-eye view of pink salmon in the Indian River, in downtown Sitka. It's easy to see how pinks come by their nickname: humpies. 2013 was a record year for pink salmon returns in Southeast Alaska, and a few are still arriving! To learn more about the role pink salmon play in the food cycle, visit the Encounters website, with host Richard Nelson.

These boots were made for running

Saturday (9/28/13) was the 19th annual Running of Boots in Sitka -- and as usual, it was a costumed affair, with a smattering of stripes, florals, and polka dots on the starting line alongside plenty of plain xtra tufs.

XCountry champ!

David_Wilcox_250Sitka High Boys extended their dominance in Cross Country by winning the Regional 1A/2A/3A Meet Saturday morning (9-28-13) in Sitka. Freshman David Wilcox broke the tape in 17:37 for the 5K event, helping his team to an overall first in the meet. Mt. Edgecumbe, Wrangell, and Skagway rounded out the field. Click through for complete results.