Alaska 2013 – Anchorage to Seward

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It’s been a long and busy month but I finally got a few minutes to
sit down and update my blog.

I’ve had time to process some of the 2600 images I took and
these are the best from my trip from Anchorage to Seward.

I arrived in Anchorage at 6:30pm, picked up my car and was on the
road by 7:00pm.

On the way out of Anchorage to Seward you’ll see the sign
for Potter’s Marsh, well worth the stop.

If you drive straight without stopping it’s a 2.5 hour scenic trip by
car (medium size car 80$/day) but if your birding and taking photos it can take
considerably longer. In June though the
sun shines until 11:30pm, so I had plenty of time.

There were birdy areas all along the route. I found nesting Trumpeter Swans, Arctic
Terns, Violet-green Swallows, Red-necked Phalaropes, a Harlan Hawk, many
Wilsons and Orange Crowned Warblers, American Dippers on many streams and
Common Loons. A scope was very nice to
have along but I seldom have one with me on these trips.

I got to Seward at 1:00am and went straight to the Hotel
Seward.

If you are planning this trip to Seward, make sure to book
your room ahead of time. The rooms at
this time of year will run you 180$ a night and they are generally all booked
up. I had booked a room at the Hotel
Seward (www.hotelsewardalaska.com)for 2
nights. They have an expensive side and
a no frills side with bathrooms down the hall and rooms can be had for 110$ per
night.

Next morning I was up by 6am and having breakfast across
from the Kenai Fjord Tours office, downing my coffee and toast, I waited for
the office to open. I’d tried to book
the Captains Choice Tour (www.kenaifjords.com/kenai-custom-tours.html) but it
had been full for a month in advance so I settled on the Northwestern Fjords
Tour (www.kenaifjords.com/kenai-nwfjord.html)
a 9 hour tour. If you are at all
bothered by motion sickness bring something to take or wear. I brought along trusty Gravol, and took
long before I got on the boat. You will
need it, there were a few times during the day we were in some pretty large
swells and most aboard were sitting down and looking rather pale.

Also warm clothes are a must, no matter how warm it is in
Seward, it will be considerably colder on the water. I had on 2 pair of long underwear and wind
proof jacket, pants, tuque and heavy gloves.
There were a few times when even that wasn’t enough, especially when
your standing on the bow of a moving boat, looking for birds.

On this trip I saw Humpback and Killer Whales (a first for
me), Sea Lion’s, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otter’s, Harbor Porpoise, Common and
Thick-billed Murre’s, Marbled and (lifebird) Kittlittz’s Murrelet’s, Pelagic and Red-faced
Cormorant’s (not many Red-faced), Black-legged Kittiwakes, Glaucous-winged
Gulls, Tufted and Horned Puffins and Rhinoceros Auklets.

From a photographic perspective, it’s tough to photograph
from this boat (Captain’s Choice would have been a smaller and better boat) but
I did manage a few decent images. The
best photo op’s are spectacular scenery, mountains and glaciers. Bring a suitable wide-angle lens.

This is the second time I’ve been on a cruise in this area
and it did not disappoint. Below are a
few of my better images from the 2 days, which include the drive down and cruise.

On the return to Anchorage the next day I spent 8 wonderful
hours birding all the way home. Lots of
different terrain and elevation change made for some good finds.

Best image of this leg was the Orange-crowned
Warbler, where you can see the orange crown…..Ciao for now.

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