August 29, 2022 – Shortly after the ship docked in Ketchikan we boarded a bus for a scenic drive to Herring Cove in the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. The tour started with a nature walk on an easy path through the forest to raised boardwalks beside Eagle Creek. Our guides Bryn and Claire were on the lookout for Black Bears that come to the creek to fish for salmon. We learned Eagle Creek is named for the many Eagles that are often seen there. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any that day.
The scenery was spectacular and we found bears! There were eight bears sighted including three cubs. Some of the bears were walking through the dense woods and others were far off at the edge of a field. I saw seven of them but was only able to capture this adult black bear feeding on berries and wading in the creek in search of salmon.
We came out of the forest and walked to the Alaska Raptor Center where we were introduced to these three birds. The birds were rescued after receiving injuries that would prohibit them from surviving in the wild. The mission of the Alaska Raptor Center is to promote and enhance wild populations of raptors and other avian species through rehabilitation, education, and research.
Ketchikan is home to the most standing totem poles anywhere in the world. A native master totem carver told us how the totems are made before we walked outside to see some of the finished totems.
With about six cruise ships in port the town of Ketchikan was crowded with people as we rode back to our ship. There wasn’t enough time for us to explore the town.
Spending our last day in Alaska seeing bears, raptors, totems, and the town of Ketchikan was a great way to end our Alaska adventure.
For this challenge Patti asks us to show one subject three ways.
Every time I drive to and from my neighborhood I pass a tree I call the bird tree because I often see birds perched on its dead branches. I’ve chosen three images of the tree. All were taken on the same day.
The image above is a recent photo of the tree will Roseate Spoonbills and a Great Egret. The image below was taken with a zoom lens for a closer look. The third image is cropped to show only the Roseate Spoonbill.
August 28, 2022 – Our ship docked in Sitka just a short walk from where we boarded a boat for our wildlife cruise. Once again it was raining off and on all day.
Our captain took us through a narrow passage where we had a close up view of tree covered islands. Our guide was a naturalist who pointed out interesting things to see like the orange starfish in the next photo.
When the rain began I went back inside the warm, dry cabin. This humpback whale came up right outside my window.
The captain slowed down for a closer look at these sea otters. Some were just floating around and others were diving and playing. They are so cute and fun to watch.
As we traveled to Fin Island Lodge for lunch we spotted this American Bald Eagle hanging out in a tree close to the water.
We ate our fill of Alaskan crab, salmon, and prime rib with all the trimmings. Lunch was followed by a campfire on the beach where we roasted our own marshmallows to make S’Mores with locally make chocolate bars.
We boarded the boat for a ride back to the cruise ship dock where the rain was coming down in buckets.
The historic town of Sitka is located a few miles from the cruise ship dock. There is a shuttle which runs back and forth to the town. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to visit the town. I did manage a few minutes of shopping at some of the shops at the dock.
Next up – Our last Alaskan port and more Alaska Wildlife
We fell in love with Alaska nine years ago when we traveled from Georgia to Alaska and back towing our fifth wheel trailer. We’ve been wanting to return to the Last Frontier ever since.
Our wish finally came true at the end of August this year. This time we flew to Anchorage, took a tour bus to Seward and boarded the Viking Orion for a 10 day cruise ending in Vancouver. We returned to a few places we had visited by RV and saw some amazing new places. The scenery was stunning and there were many wildlife sightings.
In this challenge host Anne asks us “What is your Photographic Groove? What type of photography do you truly enjoy? “
I enjoy the challenge of photographing birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. The header image is of a bugling Elk in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. One fall we traveled there in hope of seeing the magnificent elk herd that lives there. We weren’t disappointed. I posted about our experience at Cataloochee Valley Elk in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
The following gallery contains some of my favorite wildlife images from our travels around the United States and Canada.
This next gallery contains some of my favorite bird images.
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