Juneau Nature

Natural & cultural history of Juneau & Southeast Alaska

Juneau Nature - Natural & cultural history of Juneau & Southeast Alaska

Mountain goat

The overseer

We’re extraordinarily lucky in Juneau to live in almost constant proximity of one of the coolest mammals on the planet. This fall (2015) the goats showed up on schedule near the reflector near the ‘summit’ of the ridge in this panorama. With any luck, they’ll stay until the alder leaves start filling out in May of 2016.

I’m brainstorming a goat study with Henry Hopkins, biology teacher at Juneau-Douglas High School. How do these critters use the array of habitats visible from the school’s north parking lot? How might students document their movements?

goatgrid2

View of Behrends slide from JD High. It’s about 2000 feet to the center of the slide area. Gridded for recording goat observations. Click to enlarge.

With a good tripod mounted scope, you can easily distinguish adults from kids and yearlings, and in optimum conditions even make a guess at the subtler differences between males and females. Here’s a video test at several zoom levels by Bob Armstrong from Behrends Avenue, about 1500 feet away.

zoomtest from Richard Carstensen on Vimeo.

2013 aerial of Behrends slide. On right is normalized vegetation, with tree heights in color classes. Contours 10 feet from LiDAR.

2013 aerial of Behrends slide. On right is normalized vegetation, with tree heights in color classes. Contours 10 feet from LiDAR.

Think you can tell a male from female goat at a thousand feet? Take the Fish & Game quiz  here.