Alaska Trip ’08

I spent the last couple weeks of July visiting my brother in Talkeetna, Alaska.  It was rainy most of the time and we were between salmon runs so it was more of a drinking trip than anything else.  I did see a few mammals about and we made two short trips were we had good chances to see things.  The first of which was down to Kenai Fjords National Park out of Seward. 

We went on the 6 hour trip.  We started well with several Sea Otters. The captain saw a Minke Whale, but refused to look for it further because he said it is normally a waste of time.  Next up were a couple of Humpbacks, and some Dall’s Porpoise.  From there we continued to see the normal things like Stellar’s Sea Lions and Harbor Seals. >

Towards the end we found some Orcas.  They were the AK pod, which are residents.  I’ve seen this pod on 3 of the 4 trips I’ve taken out of Seward.  A few Dall’s Porpoises soon joined them and  swam in front of the Orcas the way they sometimes do with boats.

We didn’t see Mountain Goats or Black Bears, which I’ve seen every other time I’ve been on that trip.  I also saw a Northern Red-backed Vole in the Exit Glacier Campground.
On a couple of random days we drove out to Hatcher’s Pass and the Petersville road in search of Wolverines, but as you might guess it was a long shot and we saw none.
A couple days before I left I went up to Denali National Park.  I had talked to one of the Denali bus drivers in the bar a few days before and he said it was a great year for Lynx, with one bus having 4 separate sightings.  I drove into the park as far as I could, mile 15 and saw some of the more common animals, such as Moose, Snowshoe Hare,  and Arctic Ground Squirrel.  I was told I missed a Wolf by seconds at one spot.  I rode the bus in to Wonder Lake the next day.  I saw all the usual stuff, Caribou, Grizzly Bears, Dall’s Sheep, Red Fox, and a Hoary Marmot.  We didn’t see anything close enough to take a picture of until the end.

Trip Totals
Moose  – 9
Snowshoe Hare – 100+
Arctic Ground Squirrel – 15 or so
Northern Red-backed Vole – 1
Red Squirrel – 3
Porcupine – 1
Beaver – 1
Caribou – 18
Grizzly Bear – 5
Dall’s Sheep 7
Hoary Marmot – 1
Orca – 7 or 8
Humpback – 2
Dall’s Porpoise – 14+
Sea Otter – 8+
Stellar’s Sea Lion – 24
Harbor Seal – 4

Nothing new for me, but not bad.

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