Juneau Nature

Natural & cultural history of Juneau & Southeast Alaska

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

Armstrong publications

Natural history publications from Bob Armstrong and  friends

Bob Armstrong, as you know if you’ve lived here longer than a few weeks, is Juneau’s senior naturalist. In the early 1980s, following a near-death experience from ingesting Cicuta douglasii, I (RC) was introduced to Bob by Rita O’Clair (a decade later, first author of our guide The Nature of Southeast Alaska). He looked thoughtful and said “Oh, that was you.” He’d clipped the lamented Empire article and taped it to the bathroom mirror.

Thirty years later, Bob still talks to me, which says a lot about his openness to everything that flies or slinks or blossoms. When I grow up, I want to be Bob Armstrong.

A couple years ago, Bob decided to basically put his life’s work on line, for free. The result is www.naturebob.com. Need a photo of a bear pulling a sockeye salmon out of a beaver dam? You’ll probably find it there, along with pretty much anything a person could capture with 35mm or digital technology after living in a place for a half century or so.

Juneaunature.org is honored to host a growing series of Bob Armstrong’s self-published masterpieces:


The Mendenhall Wetlands: a globally recognized Important Bird Area

By Bob Armstrong, Richard Carstensen, Mary F. Willson & Marge Hermans Osborn

Discovery Southeast brings you a free digital version of the definitive guide to Mendenhall Wetlands natural history.

The origins of this book date back to 2002-03, when Armstrong, Carstensen and Willson conducted a year-long study of bird concentrations on Mendenhall Wetlands, on contract with US Fish & Wildlife Service. Through Juneau Audubon, we published the Hotspots Report, also available from the publications page of juneaunature.

In 2009, the Southeast Alaska Land Trust provided funding to assemble and publish a full-color, 8.5×11-inch synthesis of this work for broader readership. We broadened the scope of the original study to include not only birds but a complete natural history of Mendenhall Wetlands. With that printing nearly sold out, we are making the book available in digital form, for reading on computer and tablet.


The best current natural history of the Mendenhall Wetlands. Armstrong, Carstensen, Willson & Hermans, 2009.

download here (5.8 megs):


Beavers by the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau Alaska

Mary F. Willson & Bob Armstrong, 2009

Bob and Mary have studied these animals and their habitat for many years.For more on beaver ecology and the background behind their publication, see our rodent page.

Text © 2009 Mary F. Willson and Robert H. Armstrong; Photographs © Robert H. Armstrong, except as noted; Illustrations Katherine Hocker Published by: Nature Alaska Images

Mary F. Willson and Robert H. Armstrong, Photos by Robert Armstrong,  Illustrations by Katherine Hocker,  2009

download here (6 megs):




In Bob’s bio for our recent revision of The Nature of Southeast Alaska,  he says: “I really enjoy picking a subject I know little about and inviting experts to join me in writing a book about the subject.” Here’s one result, with coauthor Chiska Derr. (It also exemplifies why there’s few aspects of rain-forest natural history that Bob still knows little about.) The spiral-bound publication is available in local bookstores, but also works great on your smartphone or tablet:

Cover of Bob's new lichen guide with Chiska Deer

Chiska Derr and Bob Armstrong, 2010.

download here (3.3 megs):



Bob created this 4-page pdf in collaboration with ornithologist Gwen Baluss and the board of directors of Juneau Audubon.

download here (1.1 megs):


On the how-to side, Bob just sent us a review of the Panasonic Lumix FZ-200 ‘prosumer’ camera, one of his favorites for a range of uses from ultramacros of 2mm-long springtails to telephotos of distant eagles.


Don’t be misled by the dry title. Whether or not you have aspirations in the realm of digital imagery, this 13-pager is a classic example of Armstrongian clarity, patience, natural history, and technical mastery. If it doesn’t convince you to plunk down $600 and try it yourself, the photos will still blow your mind.

download here (4 megs):


Below is a 4-pager on wolves for the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. Bob sees this format as an easily digestible, web-friendly venue for descriptions he wants to give us on everything from waterbears to Arctic terns. Stay tuned for more from one of Juneau’s most prolific and artful natural-history story tellers!


download here (3 megs):


Thanks, Bob, for everything you give to our community!