Sunday 20 September 2015

A few more Alaskan brown bears!

I've just started editing some of my photos from our Alaska trip so here are a few more brown bears which I photographed at Brooks Falls in the Katmai National Park last week.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

The Alaskan Salmon run the bear gauntlet!

Sockeye Salmon spawning.

After a couple of years in freshwater and up to 3 in salt water the Sockeye Salmon return to the rivers of their birth to spawn.

They do this en-masse when the river conditions are right and somehow this strategy seems to work.

Maybe the sheer number of fish overwhelm the predators..... the bears certainly get their fill but the fish still seem to be here in vast numbers.

Everywhere we look we see salmon, alive and dead. The beaches, streams, rivers and lakes are teeming with dead and dying fish.

Not only were there Sockeye, but Pinks, Coho, and Chum Salmon.

Here are just a few images, sometimes gruesome, although I like to think of them as artistic!

The male Sockeye with its hump.

The male Sockeye with its hump.

These Alaskan Brown Bears can grow up to 900 lbs on the rich salmon diet.

Sunday 13 September 2015

Alaska ..... Alaskan Brown Bears at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park.

We spent the day at Brooks Falls in the Katmai National Park today and were rewarded with great views of bears and great weather too!

We left Homer in a gale and rain with the wind gusting to 36 mph and our floatplane hitting every white crest on takeoff.
Fortunately our pilot Tony from Bald Mountain Air Services assured us that the weather was fine on the other side of the Cook Inlet.

We flew over some amazing scenery en-route as we crossed the Katmai National Park with numerous mountains and active volcanoes.

Brooks Falls didn't disappoint with some fantastic views of the large Alaskan coastal bears, which by the way, are the same species as the Grizzly only bigger!

The silver salmon had started their run and there were still a lot of red sockeye salmon showing in the riffles and shallows which the bears were taking advantage of to build up their fat reserves to see them through the long Alaskan winter.

Bald Mountain Air Services Inc. floatplane at Naknek Lake in Katmai.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Alaska ..... Bald Eagle, 11th September 2015.

Bald Eagle

I think one image does enough to show this magnificent bird in all its glory!

We'd been looking for eagles all day and had visited a couple of nest sites and also the local garbage tip but without any good sightings.

Get back to the campsite and after tea I wander down to the beach where there is a nest which had fledged its young.

As I approach  an adult eagle flies in off the sea and lands in a low conifer.

Praying it would stay there I moved up the beach until the light was behind me and on the bird..... it stayed perched..... indeed after filling my boots with photos I walked away and left it still there!

Sometimes you just get lucky..... but it also takes bloody mindedness and persistence!

Alaska .....Sea Otters

I managed to get some shots of these sea otters in a small industrial lagoon on the Homer Spit.

In one image you can see the young cub (pup?) trying to climb aboard mum!

Friday 11 September 2015

Alaska ....... Fall colours.

Of course that's Autumn colours to us Brits! But when in Rome etc.etc.

We've seen some amazing colours in the landscape since we've been driving around here in Alaska.

The aspens and cottonwoods have been a blaze of gold, especially up north near Denali and Fairbanks where they've turned before those down south.

Almost every bend in the road seems to throw up incredible sights.

I have to admit that the camera certainly doesn't do it justice!


Tuesday 8 September 2015

Alaska...... A few more shots of the Northern Lights. 5th & 6th September.

We spent 2 nights up in Fairbanks, Alaska and were fortunate to see the aurora on both of them.

The aurora forecast was not great with it being put at a grade 3 moderate and sure enough whilst it looks OK on the camera it was not stunning by any means.

The next night we moved south by about 60 miles south on Highway 3 and camped at a riverside creek at Anderson, a tiny village, although named "the City of Anderson" complete with a City Hall.

This was a super little place about 6 miles off the highway and very quiet.

Again the aurora showed at about 11pm. and I spent an hour plus outside standing in the dry creek bed photographing them and also hoping no bears were around!

Now heading down to Denali again and then south to the Kenai peninsula and Soldotna and Homer.

A couple of "ol timers" around the campfire.

Saturday 5 September 2015

Alaska.... Northern Lights at Fairbanks tonight. 4th September 2015.

A few shots of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) taken tonight just a half mile down the road from our campsite here in the aptly named Aurora Drive in Fairbanks Alaska.

They weren't the greatest I've seen as the cloud cover was variable and the lights from the city added an orange glow to the clouds but still always a spectacle to see!

Hopefully we may see them again in the next few nights as we stay up here in the north of the state.

Friday 4 September 2015

Alaska....Denali National Park

Bull Moose

After a 237 mile drive up from Anchorage it was good to finally arrive at Denali and to see the unusual view of a cloud free mountain.
The mountain has changed it's name since we have been here.... a few days ago it was Mt. Mc.Kinley, now its had a visit from President Obama and it's changed to it's former Native American name of Denali.
We do have a way of attracting US Presidents, Mr. Obama was in Seward on Tuesday when we were there, we saw his helicopter.... and many years ago we were in Denver when Bill Clinton and the Pope were there.... they certainly lay on a welcome for the Langdons!
Anyway back to Denali... here are a few images taken last night and today along the highway as far as Mile 53 at Toklat.
The grizzly was unfortunately a long way off, although we did see 2 others as well but all distant.
The caribou were really close and we were amazed at their size, the male with a huge rack of antlers.
The downside of visiting Denali is having to use their transportation system within the park.... hot sweaty and not very comfortable!

Mt.McKinley... now Denali

A distant Grizzly
A distant Grizzly