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The above Google Earth map is my roadkill observations from the return leg of the Tippy Top Tour. These observations would have been made from Fairbanks, AK to Reno, NV. Below is a guide to what the different color bubbles represent:
Green bubbles are for animals that are alive
Red bubbles are dead/ roadkill observations
Yellow bubbles are for animals that I heard
Turquoise bubbles are for animals whose tracks I observed
You may click on each bubble on this map and read more about the siting in the info box.
|these observations were made via the Champ seen here on the Top of the World Highway|
|my old friend the Yukon River as seen from the beginning of the Robert Campbell Highway|
|this Stone's Sheep is licking salt from the shoulder of the ALCAN highway just outside Muncho Lake PP|
|caribou came to the ALCAN highway near Muncho Lake, PP to lick salt off the road|
|Bridge over Lapie Canyon along the Robert Campbell Highway|
"Unconventional gas exploration is the premier industry in Fort Nelson, employing a large percentage of Fort Nelson's community members. The region's natural gas industry centers around the Horn River Basin, Liard Basin, and the Cordova basin which all contain vast amounts of gas in shale rock formations. Many of the world's most recognizable oil and gas companies are operating in the region, including EnCana, Nexen, Apache, Imperial Oil, and several more. The most common form of gas extraction is the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, in which a drill bit is first vertically, then horizontally inserted deep into the ground in an attempt to reach poorly accessible shale gas formations. As with any gas operation in North America, there are significant concerns to the environmental and social effects of the industry on the surrounding area. Large amounts of water are being extracted, most of which is withdrawn from nearby lakes and rivers, which continues to be a hot topic in the region and within the oil and gas industry."
The above quote is from Wikipedia and as I work through catching up my journals we will revisit the entire resource extraction theme for this area. The large number of Swainson's Thrush roadkill I observed approaching Ft. Nelson had nothing to do with resource extraction though. I watched several of the small birds get hit by oncoming traffic while pedaling this bit of the route. My theory is the birds tendency to feed along the gravel shoulders of the road and their flight pattern when spooked by approaching traffic are the major factors in the large number of roadkill here. For every roadkill Swainson's Thrush in this area I saw, I probably saw 30 live birds foraging together. My other theory when looking at this map is that East to West roads provide the biggest obstacle to migrating birds. I started to draw my own scientific conclusion to this when I got into another roadkill rich section of highway along the border of Northern Nevada and Southern Oregon. During this leg of the Tippy Top Tour I observed several roadkill Yellow Rumped Warblers again on an East to West highway. I was especially bummed out to see these road kill Warblers as I have one that is a winter resident in my front yard in the BLC. I think I look forward to seeing his and her return every year more than they look forward to the suet and seedblock I put out for them. I never realized they are a bird of the high desert as well, but now I know! Maybe the East to West highways versus South to North highways prove to be a bigger obstacle for migrating birds because they have a higher likelihood of crossing them during their migration. An East to West highway they have to cross at some point, but a South to North highway they may fly along either side of the route without ever needing to actually risk a crossing of it. Of course these are just my observations when looking at the map, I have no scientific credentials to make these observations.
|roadkill Yellow Rumped Warbler|
|road kill juvenile White Crowned Sparrow|
|a black bear sow and cub play in the middle of the Robert Campbell Highway|
|the Champ and Krud at the end of the Robert Campbell Highway (Watson Lake Sign Forest)|