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.