Finally back for the last entries about last summer. Held off publish some images since some publications wanted to buy first time rights. More to come.
A photo gallery and short story about our trip was published in Outside Online.
The he trip is going well after 45 days and over 300 nautical miles we have reached Sitka. Here we are re-supplying on spices, oil and sugar. After several weeks of fantastic weather we now have a pretty good storm moving through. Hopefully we can continue towards Goddard Hot Springs tomorrow.
A male ruffed grouse kept me entertained in early May, as he called for females by beating his wings together. He had several favorite logs to stand on in my backyard. I like the pictures but they have busy backgrounds. For next year I will have to do some selective trimming in my yard to clean up the background as I now know where his favorite spot are.
I was recently in New Zealand teaching a month long Sea Kayaking course.
We had an amazing opportunity to stop at Motuara Island, were we got to see several endemic and endangered birds.
New Zealand Robins are tame and charismatic birds, often chasing insects in the duff by your feet.
Bellbirds are known for their beautiful song, and on the predator free Motuara Island the bird song was almost deafening. It really highlighted how human impact and introduced predators have decimated birdlife on the mainland of New Zealand.
It was delightful to see the Kakariki (Yellow-crowned parakeet) again. A few years ago I caught a glimpse of it on Stewart Island. To watch numerous of them coming to drink and bathe was an amazing experience.
We even got to see the critically endangered South Island Saddleback. Pretty sure I even saw a few juveniles. Thanks to hard work by DOC and volunteers it is slowly making a comeback. The population is estimated at 700 individuals up from the original 36 birds that was rescued in 1964.
I was all ready to go out to photograph the aurora again, but got distracted by this little fellow, sitting on a branch outside the front door. I have known for years that Saw-whet Owls live in the neighborhood, but this was the first time I actually saw one.
A selection of my Alaska images will be on display at the Flying Squirrel Cafe in Talkeetna through November 12. Hope to see you at the opening reception October 10, 3-5 pm(ish). If you can’t make it to Talkeetna, see the images online.
I’m back from guiding a trip in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for Arctic Wild which provided incredible support for the clients and me so that we could find the Porcupine Caribou Herd out on the coastal plain. But first we found an incredible rich birdlife. Next to our tents we had this amazing Ruddy Turnstone.
It had a nest with two eggs, out in the middle of the coastal plain. This photograph with a wide-angle lens captures the space that surrounds it.
Finding a large herd of Caribou wasn’t an easy task as they roamed across the plain. But one evening at about midnight we found a group with several thousand Caribou. Yes -they are out there as tiny dots.
The next day we found them again after a challenging river crossing and 2 mile walk across the wet tundra of sedge grasses.
There group spread out for over a mile grazing on the sedge grass, I estimate that there were 20-thousand Caribou, but who knows. I couldn’t count that far, among the constantly moving herd of Caribou.
A curious calf came up to inspect us with its mom in tow. Only a few weeks old they were running across the tundra at amazing speeds.
Cordova Shorebird festival was once again a great flurry of life after a long Alaska winter. Heavy rain, grey sky and strong wind didn’t dampen the spirits of birds, bird watchers and photographers, which all braved the elements with enthusiasm.
As the storm subsided I flew out to Hitchinbrook Island to explore what was out there. With me was my wife Nancy and my dad Olof an avid birder which came over from Sweden to experience the shorebird migration. We found a lot less people and shorebirds but much else such as Harlequin Ducks, Oyster Catchers, Stellar Sea Lion, breaching Humpback whales, Brown Bears, and a beautiful Sitka Spruce forest
I still came away with many great photographs of Semipalmated Plover which preferred to feed at the edge of the surf on the beach.
The Least Sandpipers had established nesting territories along a small estuary, and was patrolling the edge of it for food.
Brown Bears were also patrolling the estuary feeding on sedge.
When we returned to Cordova the shorebirds were gathered in tight clusters and seemed ready to head north again after fattening up on the rich estuary of the Copper River.