Thursday, 7 July 2011

Magic Pelagic - A Tale of 9 Auks

It was the 'long awaited' Pelagic out into Kenai Fjord today, and well worth the wait. With 30 minutes or so before slipping and proceeding, I took a look across the harbour mainly to locate the boat we were going on. A scan down the 2 lines of 120 footers and I couldn't see her, but it wasn't to be one of these large cruisers we were going on. There center left of picture was

The Mighty 'Misty' dwarfed by the other vessels around her, but as I have always maintained as far as sea going vessels are concerned 'small is beautiful'. This was certainly the case today as she was well appointed with everything ship shape and Bristol fashion, and after a detailed 'safety brief' we were on our way.

Captain Andrea Kosto

First Mate Misha Bogart both highly competent at their job, exceptional at spotting and identifying the local Wildlife as well as being of cheerful disposition - this we felt was going to be a great trip!

Kenai Fjord & Resurrection Bay

Harbour Seals

Sea Otter

Steller Sea lions

Pelagic Cormorant

Marbled Murrelet strange to see such birds in brown (juvenile looking plumage) when in fact this is 'adult breeding'.

Pigeon Guillemot

Tufted Puffin

Common Murre (Guillemot)

Thick-billed Murre (BrĂ¼nnich's Guillemot) even here this Auk is scarce!

Horned Puffin

Parakeet Auklet a 'World Lifer'

Kittlitz's Murrelet Altogether paler faced than Marbled, the white outer tail feathers are the diagnostic clincher.

The 3 images above are of Rhinoceros Auklet.

Those who have tried (and failed in my case) to photograph the Puffins, or even the Guillemots at Portland Bill will know the difficulties of hard to locate and mobile birds. To see, let alone photograph 9 species within about a 5 hour time span has been one of the Avian wonders I will never forget. Additionally, there could have been Ancient Murrelet as well but they seem to be busy at the breeding ground.

The Aialik Glacier which was 'calving' during our stay.

Humpbacked Whale 7 in total during the day, and at one point 3 together. These are some of their antics but unfortunately the system will not allow me to upload a number of short videos (including the Glacier), but they should be available soon by visiting Bagsy Bagsy on Facebook - I'd say "worth a look".

Some of these animals, I am told, reach a massive 48 feet and weigh one ton per foot!

In addition to the above we also recorded Dall's Porpoise, Arctic Tern, Sooty Shearwater plus a small flock of 9 Scoter which held White-winged, Black and Surf, I really would have liked that on the card!


  1. Hi Bagsy, I met you on the coastal trail in Anchorage with the Hudsonian Godwits. Great blog, your a great gleaner of local information, indeed just looking at it you have taught me things about my local area!

    Hope you don't mind my input, but maybe I can add a bird to your Seward list. The bird in the photo carrying food appears to be the Pacific Northwest variety of the Song Sparrow. Difficult to see here but thinner and darker bill than the Fox, with less bold breast markings. Also has a very dark red (hard to see well) facial markings. In the next frame down you have your Fox Sparrow, the Sooty Pacific variety in Seward. With all the local variations they are not really very easy birds!
    Hope all is well and enjoy your travels!


  2. Yes I remember you well Aaron, the man who cannot recognise the 'whistling call' of his own wife, has she forgiven you yet? I don't mind you input at all, in fact i welcome anyone putting me right better than plodding on blindly. As you will see in tomorrows post, didn't do very well with the Godwit photos but may have another chance when I return from The Pribilofs. Thanks again for your help both at Anchorage and here on the Blog. Maybe bump into you next week.
    Yours aye