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Alaska Trip: Wildlife

Coming up Fox Creek in a zodiac to get out on the right bank for a hike...

...we noticed a mother bear and her two cubs back on the left bank.
After getting out of the zodiac, we stayed along the bank and watched as the bears slowly wandered towards us on the other side.
While walking, the mother bear was catching salmon from the creek, eating them and feeding them to her cubs.
Eventually they came up the small waterfall to be directly across the creek from us.

We had been watching the bears for over 1/2 hour, so it was time to leave for the hike. This is a parting shot I got as we entered the forest.

When we came back from the hike, the bears had moved over to the same side we were on! So we detoured around them higher up in the forest.

These are some bear tracks from one of our hikes in the forest. Bears will tend to step in the same places as each other, wearing deep tracks into the ground.
This was the middle of salmon spawning season, so there were salmons in every river and stream around.

There are so many salmon that bears will just eat the brain and eggs (the prime parts) and leave the rest sitting along the river bank or up in the forest. One of the naturalists with us cut open a salmon that hadn't been gotten by a bear, to show the hundreds of eggs the females have.

One evening we picked up a humpback whale research, who did a presentation on the whales and described an amazing thing they do called bubble net fishing. The next morning we spotted some whales who were doing this!

One of the humpbacks going back down into the deep, for another round of fishing.
More bubble net fishing. A group of 5 or 6 whales works together, herding the fish into an area and blowing bubbles around them to keep them there. They then all suddenly swim up to the surface with their mouths open, collecting the fish.
A flock of seagulls would usually start gathering above the area of the bubble net as the whales worked, making it much easier to know where to look for the whales to come up.

Later we spotted orcas (killer whales), and stopped the ship to try to have a look.

The whales came over and for a short time were surfacing right beside the ship.

A whale surfacing nearby.

Swimming on its side.

Going back down under the water.

It looked like they were having fun!

One whale was repeatedly slapping its tail fin into the water.

They also did jumps out of the water a few times. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the time two leaped out together.

A rock full of sea lions.

Another rock of sea lions.

A close-up of the first rock. Notice the one in the upper-middle of the picture...

...whoops! Down it goes into the water. Sea lions were falling off that rock continually.

While kayaking, coming across a group of sea otters, we held our kayaks together and floated along with them for a while.

My brother and I came across this sea otter while in our kayak separated from the rest of the group.

A view from a kayak into the water, where you can see a number of sea stars.

One of the naturalists showing a sea star he had found.

A jellyfish seen from a kayak. This is unfortunately out of focus, but the colors really were like that.

A "slaty-backed gull" from Sibera. Or so the naturalist/bird-watcher says!

Just a picture of a gull flying, but I like how it turned out.

We ran across this owl on a hike. It is probably a western screech-owl.

Sea lions, and sea birds, and dolphins, oh my!

A sea bird looking for food.

Dianne Kyra Hackborn <hackbod@angryredplanet.com>
Last modified: September, 2005

This web page and all material contained herein is the fault and Copyright ©1998 Dianne Hackborn, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.