Alaska Wildlife

We just got back from a 7 day cruise of the inside passage in Alaska. We were on a Celebrity ship, which started in Vancouver and stopped in  Ketchikan, Icy Straight, Junea, Skagway and Seward. The ship was great, the scenario awe-inspiring, and the animal life abundant. The only thing we missed out on was the salmon, which don’t start running until July.

One particular excursion (not booked through the cruise ship), on http://www.adventureboundalaska.com, took us from Junea to Tracy Arm Fjord and the Swayer Glacier. Not as famous as the Hubbard Glacier, but spectacular to see, especially on a 65 foot boat (only 50 people) which got within 1/2 mile of the glacier – any closer is not safe due to the glacier calving and ice floating around. But that is a story (and pictures) for another post…

Today is all animals, all the time!

We start with whales. Whales are hard to catch on film, as from the time you see the water spout to the time the tail dips into the water, it might only be a few seconds. But I did manage to get a few…

First you see a spout

First you see a spout

The the fin...

The the fin…

And finally, the tail

And finally, the tail

As we entered Tracy Arm Fjord, this is the sight that greeted us

As we entered Tracy Arm Fjord, this family of eagles were there to greet us

As we entered Tracy Arm Fjord, this family of eagles were there to greet us

June is the time when all the harbor seals are having their babies. They love the area around Sawyer Glacier, where all of these pictures were taken.

Here you can get a sense of how many seals were in this area.

Here you can get a sense of how many seals were in this area.

More cute babies

Baby harbor seal with its mom

Baby harbor seal and Mom

More cute babies and moms. Mostly they just looked at us with curiosity as we rode by

 

This one looked pregnant.

This one looked pregnant.

Mother harbor seal teaching her baby to swim

Mother harbor seal teaching her baby to swim

Sea Lions hanging out in the waters near Icy Strait

Sea Lions hanging out in the waters near Icy Strait

Porpoise

Porpoise

Since the salmon aren’t yet running, we did not see a lot of bears. However, we did find both a black bear and a brown bear with two cubs along the shoreline between Juneau and Tracy Arm Fjord.

This black bear was on the shore, eating barnacles.

This black bear was on the shore, eating barnacles.

He watched us for a while, before he decided to mosey back into the woods.

He watched us for a while, before he decided to mosey back into the woods.

This brown bear was at the water's edge- see her two cubs up on the rocks near the top of the picture.

This brown bear was at the water’s edge- see her two cubs up on the rocks near the top of the picture.

We also saw a large extended family of sea lions sunning and eating from the rocks.

Family of sea lions

Family of sea lions

We called him Big Daddy

We called him Big Daddy

Gulliemot

Gulliemot

Gotta show you just two pics of the actual glacier…

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View of Sawyer Glacier, in Tracy Arm Fjord, near Juneau, Alaska

View of Sawyer Glacier, in Tracy Arm Fjord, near Juneau, Alaska

In Alaska, eagle are almost as common as seagulls- they were everywhere. The naturalist told us to just look for “ping pong balls” in the trees- their white heads, and he was right.

The welcoming committee in Ketchikan

The welcoming committee in Ketchikan

An eagle greeting us in Icy Strait

An eagle greeting us in Icy Strait

Mother loon, sitting on her eggs. As we got closer, she tried to hide herself with the brown grass in the water.

Mother loon, sitting on her eggs. As we got closer, she tried to hide herself with the brown grass in the water.

Loon's eggs. Unfortunately, she laid them too close to the water's edge, so they became submerged and likely won't hatch.

Loon’s eggs. Unfortunately, she laid them too close to the water’s edge, so they became submerged and likely won’t hatch. On a lake, in Misty Fjord

The sunset was beautiful on our last night at sea.

IMG_4945

The moose and the reindeer were at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, Alaska. They rehabilitate injured animals and are also working to breed endangered species and return them to the wild.

Hi Moose!

Hi Moose!

Reindeer

Reindeer

look at the racks on these beauties!

look at the racks on these beauties!

On the way to Anchorage at the end of our trip, we stopped at the Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary. Much of the marsh is along the side of Seward Highway, with car pullouts where you can park and watch the action. We saw this gull standing at the edge of the parking lot, and didn’t think much of it. But then my husband spotted her babies-

Mama gull

Mama gull

 

Gull babies!

Gull babies!

IMG_5382 IMG_5348

Still trying to figure out what kind of bird this is!

Still trying to figure out what kind of bird this is!

 

IMG_5340IMG_5308

 

In the beginning, I mentioned the glaciers- they were spectacular, and I will write about them soon. One thing I have done already is to create a mix of video, and series of photos I shot of calving glaciers- both beautiful and humbling to watch. Also shot aboard the Captain Cook in Tracy Arm fjord. Here is a link to the video on youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pBcLI22zy4

 

Want to see more pictures? Check out my book on Shutterfly

 

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One Response to Alaska Wildlife

  1. Pingback: ♫ Way Up North (North To Alaska) ♫ | Viral Dojo

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