Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day 7 Travel Day and a Visit to Potter Marsh

We were working our way back to Anchorage from Seward....After the fantastic cruise to the Kenai Fjords yesterday, we thought it was going to be a quiet trip back and nothing else planned as we headed towards Anchorage. We were traveling back past the fabulous Turnagain Arm again...the 40-50 mile waterway that has the occasional bore tides. For an explanation of the bore tides, read here.

Sparky remembered a cool birding marsh when we had first come to Seward, and wanted to stop by to see it on our way back....It was called Potter's Marsh. Here is how you get to it:
Roughly fifteen minutes south of downtown Anchorage, Potter Marsh is accessible from the New Seward Highway. The entrance is located just past the Rabbit Creek exit and across from the Rabbit Creek Rifle Range entrance. A small highway pullout at the southern end of the marsh also allows for viewing and photography.

It's a beautiful marsh across from a section of the Turnagain Arm. A 1550 foot boardwalk takes you around inside the marsh...

Lots of ducks, an eagle's nest with babies, and a MOOSE! Yep, a moose just stepped out of the rushes and into our view. Woo hoo! One more moose sighting on our last day. Sparky was thrilled!

Here is what you might see depending upon the time of year....

From late April through September, Canada geese, northern pintails, canvasback ducks, red-necked phalaropes, horned and red-necked grebes, and northern harriers use this wetland. Look for eagle nests in the cottonwoods near the base of the bluff using binoculars or a spotting scope. Eagles have a sharp sense of sight and can see at least four times better than people, enabling them to detect movements of small animals like hares from a mile away. When eagles soar overhead, they are scanning open areas for prey.
From May to August, gulls, Arctic terns, shorebirds such as yellowlegs, and occasionally trumpeter swans are present during spring and fall migration.
In addition to birds, look for slow movement and a v-shaped wake in the waters of the marsh, signs of muskrats swimming past. Their small brownish heads peek just above the water as they meander in and out of the wetland's open areas.
Moose also frequent the marsh year round. May and June are good times to see these large ungulates standing in the marsh foraging for new growth.
About halfway along the boardwalk, Rabbit Creek flows underneath and provides a good spot to see spawning chinook, coho, or humpback salmon from May to August, depending on the species. Spot their bright red bodies swimming in the creek.
With its nearly panoramic view of Turnagain arm, Potter Marsh, buffered by spruce, cottonwoods and alders, is one of the most accessible and scenic wildlife viewing areas in Anchorage.
Or, you might not see anything! I think, there were a couple of wise guys here one day. What did you see? "nothing". Another quip, "narwhale".
Add tree swallow to the list...a pretty bird...

We spent a couple of hours at the marsh and then, as the afternoon was getting on, we headed back to the motorhome and back on the highway, destination....Anchorage. And if you read the entire description of the marsh, did you learn a new word today? Sparky did... "ungulates"--a hoofed mammal. :-) She did not know that! That's such a cool thing about RVing, and we miss it...the accidental or purposeful learning new things about our world because you enjoy that sort of thing or it just pops up right in front of you!...It might be geography, history, archaeology, biology or any other scientific/artistic field. It's there, waiting for you to explore.....But then again, you don't have to RV to learn things, it's just that getting out in our world thru travel makes it easier to experience things and knowledge first hand. Like this sign for instance, at the marsh...Sparky had no idea there were so many bears in Anchorage. She knew about the moose walking all around town in Anchorage, but not bears!
See you at the airport....a little more to tell, come back and see us....Bye!


  1. Very happy to see you back on the road even if it is only temporary. Especially glad to see Eldo is not over doing it but learning the importance of moderate exercise.
    Haven't had much time to comment but looking forward to more of your travel blogs.
    Be Safe a nd Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Thanks for taking us along on your tour of Alaska, looks like you had an awesome trip.