Archive for the ‘wildlife’ Category

I saw several sea otters on my cruise, but I saw them from the ship while it was in motion.

So this is my best photo:


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I’ve never been whale watching in my life. The only wild whale I’ve seen was a dead pygmy sperm whale in North Carolina, so this was quite an experience.

These are all humpback whales, which come to Alaska to feed on the vast of krill and baitfish that are themselves fed on the vast phytoplankton blooms that happen as a result of long days of sunlight and the nutrients of glacial silt. They go to Hawaii to have their calves and breed, but those warm seas are totally devoid of whale food. So they come up to Alaska every summer to fatten themselves up. Hawaii is pretty much devoid of orcas, which kill whale calves, so those waters are the nursery. But the nursery is in a sea of famine.








There were many, many humpbacks swimming near the boat. I wish I had a photo of the one that came closest to the boat. I think it came within maybe 60 feet of the boat, and the first thing you could see is this massive black form coming up from the gray sea. Within just a few seconds, the great form appeared above the surface, spouted, and slipped back under.

I wish I had been able to get photos of that whale. It was really impressive.

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Pretty disturbing:

And here’s what you need to know about their “poison” (which isn’t really venom).

Find out more about the problems with the slow loris trade here.


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Remember the moose calves I saw at the Denali Park entrance?

Well, they were coming into contact with people so much that they had to be captured. I had heard that their mother had been killed, but the park had decided to leave them alone and see what happens.

They’ve now been sent to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.


So they won’t wind up as wolf or bear food.




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These two moose calves were at the entrance to Denali National Park, when I was taking the bus to a sled dog demonstration. (The same day I also caught the grayling).



These photos were taken from a bus. I was not on foot.

When I was on foot in moose cow and calf country, I finally realized what it’s like to be a little dog wandering around white-tailed deer when the does give birth. At any moment, there could be a ticked off ungulate coming at me!

Update (8 July 16):  I had heard rumors that the moose calves’ mother had been shot. It is true, and because they were hanging out so close to people, the park captured them today for relocation.  



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A grayling. Near Denali National Park. At a place called Fishing creek, which was aptly named.


It wasn’t a monster by any stretch of the imagination, but I managed to catch five (all catch-and-release).

But I am much more confident with a fly rod than I was before.

I also got this photo of a northern rainbow.


So it was one of my better outings on this trip.



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Alder cones


Unusual for a deciduous tree, alders reproduce with cones. They also make it very hard to look into a forest, which could be hiding a bear or a moose.




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