Alaska Bits and Pieces 2 / Glaciers, Whales, Seals and Puffins! A Picture gallery


Location 4: Aialik Glacier

Location 4: Aialik Glacier

Creaking glaciers loom out of the fog, a bald eagle surveys with predatory eyes perched high on the cliffs overlooking Resurrection Bay, timid harbours seals bake their hides on the rock and the excitable mayhem of the black-legged kittiwakes deafens as they dive a ‘baitball’.

This was only one day in Alaska on a boat along the peninsula waterways near Seward (below). Mountains burst through the fog all around us.

Kenai Fjords is a new national park created during the Carter administration and is superb for sea kayaking and wildlife viewing.

Location 1: Seward Harbour

Location 1: Seward Harbour

I’ve numbered my pics and from 1-9 and you can see the corresponding locations on the map provided below.

Resurrection-Bay

Location 2: Bald Eagle

Location 2: Bald Eagle

The horned and tufted puffins were especially pleasing to see in their nesting plumage, including those beautiful beaks.
FACT: Thy can dive 300ft underwater – the same height as they fly above it. They literally ‘swim’ underwater.

Location 8: Horned puffin

Location 8: Horned puffin

We encountered deep-sea mist that, when clearing, revealed these amazing rock outcrops.

Location 3: Rock outcrops in Resurrection Bay

Location 3: Rock outcrops in Resurrection Bay

Harbour seals are difficult to spot from offshore as they blend in with the rock surface. On closer inspection of moving forms we found many clustered together eyeing us off. The boat keeps well away from all protected wildlife, minimising disturbance.

Location 6: Harbour seals

Location 6: Harbour seals

If you’ve never heard of a ‘baitball’ before you have now. Diving black-legged kittiwakes at the Chiswell Islands enjoy a feast of fish as the shoal moves just below the surface.

Location 9: Black-legged kittiwakes bomb a shoal of fish in the 'baitball'.

Location 9: Black-legged kittiwakes bomb a shoal of fish in the ‘baitball’.

We didn’t think we’d be lucky enough to see Humpback whales, but… after spotting their ‘blow’ as they surfaced we were able to spend half an hour observing them. One of the largest mammals eats some of the smallest food – krill and small schooling fish filtered through their baleen mouths/throat. FACT: their lungs are as large as a VW beetle car…

Location 5: Humpback Whale

Location 5: Humpback Whale

A complete misnomer, Common Murre are utterly spectacular divers. FACT: They can reach depths of 640 feet (195 metres) and still fly above.

Location 7: Common Murre

Location 7: Common Murre

Our boat got close to the glacier (top pic). I don’t know what was noisier – the creaking ice or shrieking passengers as great chunks fell into the sea.

Location 4: Closing in on the Aialik Glacier

Location 4: Closing in on the Aialik Glacier

I’m heading to Denali National Park next, hoping to see bears and moose… Watch this space.

Links:
http://www.kenaifjords.com

Warren Field Photolibrary:
http://warrenfield.com.au/

Map courtesy: © Google Maps

If you’d like to use or receive a digital copy of these images please contact me: wazzafield@hotmail.com

See images from the 2014 Alaska Calendar

https://warrenfield.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/warrenfield_alaska_calendar_2014.pdf

© Warren Field 2013
Taken on OLYMPUS E-System Cameras and Zuiko lenses.

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