New Year Greetings 2008 – Alaska Glaciers


(click on image for a larger version)

Wishing You,
Your families, and
Future Generations

the Magnificent Joy of Nature’s Bounty
Enjoy it to the Fullest!
Leave it behind for the others!

Have a Wonderful New Year
Take care of the environment!

M&A


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Oh Alaska: Humpback Whales

In Seward, we took a day-long cruise to the Kenai Fjords. The entire coastal region with multiple bays, tidewater glaciers, and innumerable island and cliffs is part of the National Park System. Click here for a large (5MB) map of Kenai Fjord National Park. It was a perfect day to be out on the water: blue skies and in the mid 70's!

As the captain took us out of the Bay from Seward, the knowledgeable guide pointed out various features in the landscape, the glaciers along the way and the bird species we encountered. He knew exactly where to look for wildlife and guided the boat to nooks and cranies along the bay.

Along the way, we pass Bear Glacier (see map above) and slowly cruise the multiple islands in the Aialik Peninsula. There we saw a huge flock of seabirds on the water. The rich vegetation here attracts schools of fish, which in turn attract the seabirds. Here we saw various types of seagulls, mallards and the endearing puffins. The beautiful puffins, of course need a separate post to do them justice. The guide continued that if there is school of fish, the whales are not far behind. And as if on cue, a mother and calf humpback whale emerged, and caused the birds to take flight.

Here the mother whale is ready to dive. While most of the seabirds have taken flight, the puffins can barely fly a few meters and are still in the waters. These appear black with a white head and colored beaks.

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Oh Alaska! Birds Galore

After a wonderful day in Anchorage, we took the train to the coastal town of Seward. It was a fantastic train ride, billed as the most spectacular in the country. As the train sped across the wilderness, we spotted Dall Sheep perched on high cliffs and zipped past glaciers yielding to the earth. I was never interested in photographing birds, but was awed at the bald eagles surveying the land and artic terns hovering over the waters and scooping in to grab the fish. With my favorite 17-55 mm lens resident on my camera, my pics were less than optimal. But in Seward, I mounted the brand new 55-200 VR lens!

If you ever visit Alaska, take a few days and relax in Seward. It’s a tiny town located at the top of Resurrection Bay. The bay itself was carved by receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age and thus snow-capped mountains tower both sides of the bay. We walked along the water and spotted the common sea gulls as well as the endangered sea otters. Here are a few pics of Seagulls caught from the shore and other birds we caught on a cruise out in the ocean.

The common seagull, but what a majestic wingspan.

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