“Pic of the Week”, December 18, 2020: Brown Bear fishing at Devil’s Falls, Alaska

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We planned our latest visit to Alaska to coincide with the salmon spawning season because this is when large numbers of Alaskan brown bears migrate to the rivers and streams to begin a feast, fattening themselves for the upcoming winter hibernation.
It had been a nearly rain-free and warm summer in Alaska and many of the streams were dry.  Fortunately Devil’s Falls, which drains glacier melt from the mountains of Katmai National Park, was in full flow.  The base of the falls is only a few meters above sea level but, nonetheless, salmon spawn here and bears gather to catch them.  Our boats could go only so far up the river during rising tide because of all the rocks in the …

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.All Trips / Alaska / North America

Bald Eagle and Salmon, Alaska

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It’s the dream of every photographer to capture the classic image of a bald eagle plucking a struggling fish out of the water.  While we didn’t get to see that moment this time, we did see the immediate sequelae of this action while in Katmai National Park.
We came across this drenched eagle, its talons deeply embedded into the flesh of a chum salmon.  The eagle had clearly been in a struggle getting this hefty fish to shore, and the fish was still flopping about a little as the bird began to feast on his fresh sushi. 
This sequence of images shows the fish protectively eating his meal.  While our boat was probably 10 meters from him, that was too close and …

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.All Trips / Alaska / North America

Eklutna Historical Park — an Unusual stop in Alaska

00 Eklutna Historical Park

One of the most interesting places we visited in Alaska was in the small village of Eklutna.  The village is little more than a tiny dot on the map, but it has an interesting spot that nicely highlights the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the native population of the region.
The Russian Orthodox church is arguably one of the few good things the Russians did for the native people of Alaska — the Russian legacy is generally that of exploitation of the Alaskan Natives for the furs they provided (especially popular were sea otter pelts, the animals driven to the brink extinction by Russian demand).  The Church’s influence dates to the 18th century when the first missionaries came to …

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