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Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska – Day 2

Spent the day driving around the perimeter of Saint Paul Island. Wasn’t hard, considering the island is only 6 miles by 12 miles in size. Highlights included a Wood Sandpiper I found at one of the lagoons that had managed to thaw out. A new ABA photo bird, since I’d previously only photographed them in Thailand.

Pribs Map
Pribs Map

There were a few Emperor Geese at various spots around the island, ubiquitous Lapland Longspurs, Rock Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalaropes just about everywhere you look. A couple Caribou managed to survive the winter without starving to death or being hunted by the natives.

Caribou
Caribou

Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated Plover

Red Phalarope
Red Phalarope

Harlequin Duck
Harlequin Duck

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope

Lapland Longspur
Lapland Longspur

Emperor Goose
Emperor Goose

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck

We concluded the day by having fresh Halibut chowder with a native family. Chuck was the one that rented me several of his vehicles since the normal guy you go to for a vehicle had rented all of his out. Chuck was an extremely gracious host and had a super family.

Me with Chuck's Family
Me with Chuck’s Family

 

Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska – Day 1

A bit of a scare leaving Anchorage, when Peninsula Air notified us that they had to “bump 200 lbs of luggage” onto tomorrow’s flight so that they could take off. We had no clue if our luggage would arrive or not. Fortunately, it was all there when we landed in Saint Paul! There was also no security screening when leaving from Anchorage to Saint Paul. Gotta love flying around in Alaska!

Spent the first day getting our bearings together, figuring out our transportation situation and getting groceries. This small island of 350 native Aleuts only has one grocery store and no restaurants.

Pribs
Pribs

Did get some late afternoon photography in. Arctic Foxes were everywhere. Ticked off photos of the GIANT Pribilof Island subspecies of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, along with Rock Sandpiper and Pacific Wren.

Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox

Rock Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper (pribilofs sp.)

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (pribilofs sp.)

Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren (pribilofs sp.)

Northern Fur Seal
Northern Fur Seal

 

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Kenai Fjords – Ressurection Bay

We originally signed up for the 12 hour boat tour but inclement weather conditions prevented the boat from leaving the safety of Ressurection Bay. They downgraded us to a 4 hour boat ride with a stop at Fox Island for lunch. We were still able to enjoy a lot of the wildlife from the boat and great looks at Bear Glacier.

Bear Glacier
Bear Glacier

Tufted Puffin
Tufted Puffin

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

Common Murre
Common Murre

Black-legged Kittiwake
Black-legged Kittiwake

Barrow's Goldeneye
Barrow’s Goldeneye

Steller Sea Lion
Steller Sea Lion

Moose
Moose

After the boat trip, we drove north and spent the night at a cottage right along Kenai Lake – which was breathtaking.

Kenai Lake
Kenai Lake

 

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park

While hiking up to Exit Glacier near Seward, we had an EXTREMELY CLOSE encounter with a female Brown Bear. The rangers had warned us there was a sow with 2 cubs in the area but it had been seen farther up the hill.

Sara was walking about 30 yards behind me – since she was being much more careful than I was while walking across the ice and snow. She yelled something but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. She yelled out again, and I was finally able to make out the word “BEAR“.

No sooner than me figuring out what she was calling out, a female Brown Bear jumped out onto the trail behind her!! My mind was racing with so many different thoughts but I managed to stay calm and told her to just keep talking loudly to me and continue walking toward me at a steady pace – don’t run – and don’t turn around to look!

Kodiak Bear
Kodiak Bear

The bear looked our way, made a snorting sound and then ran off in the opposite direction – full speed – I’d guess at least 20 mph. The bear was probably more concerned with where her cubs were than us who posed no threat to her at that moment. We concluded later it was good Sara didn’t turn around to look because she most likely would have panicked.

On a much more enlightening note, I discovered a Common Redpoll nest above my head while this was all happening!

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

 

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Potter Marsh, Alaska

Driving south on the Seward highway today, took a quick stop at Potter’s Marsh just south of Anchorage and had some fun photographing the Arctic Terns, Red-necked Grebes, Mew Gulls and other AK specialties:

Arctic Tern
Arctic Tern

Mew Gull
Mew Gull

Red-necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe

Greater Scaup
Greater Scaup

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

 

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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