Monday, June 1, 2009

Alaska Day 4: Sitka, Totem Park and Alaska Raptor Center: Watery Wednesday

As we sailed into Sitka, it became very obvious how beautiful the area surrounding this city is. Sitka Sound, the body of water that Sitka sits directly on, is covered with small rocky islands with many pine trees on them. Most are uninhabited but a few have huge, beautiful homes on them that can only be reached by boat. It must be quite a place to live.

This was also the first stop at which we had to have a tender to get to land. Tender is when the cruise ship cannot get right up to the docks and must anchor out in the bay and therefore you must ride smaller boats up to the dock.

This is one of the many tender boats that were running back and forth to the cruise ship all day.

After getting off the tender, I immediately noticed a shorebird working its way along some rocky coastline. I was able to quickly relocate the bird and identify it as my lifer Wandering Tattler. It was exciting to start the day off with such a great bird!

We then quickly headed off to Sitka National Historic Park or Totem Park. This park has many totem poles and magnificent views of the sound in addition to numerous bird species. The pine trees at this park are so dense that it is extremely difficult to find the birds even when you can hear them. Needless to say, knowing the bird's songs was very important in this park. When I would hear something that was new for me, I would have to spend a considerable amount of time finding the individual that was singing. I was rewarded for my efforts with a wonderful look at a Chestnut-backed Chickadee. The rocky shores in the park were also productive. I found Harlequin Duck, Whimbrel, Long-billed Dowitcher, and a juvenile Glaucous-winged Gull. The following five pictures were all taken within the park.

View of Mt. Edgecomb from Totem Park

Our cruise ship

Sitka Sound

Totem Pole

Totem Pole
After birding in Totem Park, we headed over to check out the Alaska Raptor Center. This place is really amazing and their work has saved hundreds if not thousands of raptors over the years. Please watch for a follow up post to learn more about the center and how you can donate to help them continue to serve injured raptors throughout Alaska.
Me in front of the Alaska Raptor Center Sign

The Alaska Raptor Center

Bald Eagle at the Alaska Raptor Center

Be sure to check back and continue to follow my awesome trip to Alaska!


16 comments:

Eric Ripma said...

Did you get any other pics at the raptor center?

Guy D said...

Great shots from up north, thanks for sharing.

Cheers
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Carletta said...

Awesome shots! Love the water shots but moreso the eagle and the totem pole. :)
Looks like a wonderful trip.

Carletta said...

Oops, sorry my watery post is on my photoblog:
My post is here: Carletta’s Captures.

My regular blog has grandbaby pics. :)

2sweetnsaxy said...

Wonderful shots. I'm so glad you're sharing these with us. We had to take one of those shuttle boats from our cruise ship in Cabo San Lucas but it wasn't enclosed like the one you pictured. I think I would have preferred that one. :-D

ewok1993 said...

Beautiful images. You looked like you had a great time there.

Happily Retired Gal said...

Marvelous photos ...
Looking at them brings back memories of my own trip to Alaska in 2000. My sister and her husband are there right now ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

ChrisC and JonJ said...

OMG!!I sooo want to visit Alaska some day.And you have reinforced that feeling.Love the pictures.

Pam said...

Your photos are totally awesome, Rob. Thanks for the journey, I enjoyed it.

VALKYRIEN said...

Seems like a great place to visit! The totem poles are so interesting! Great shots and interesting info. :)

My Family Daily Adventure said...

wow it's cool, I like it.

Ebie said...

Beautiful photos. I love those totem poles. Thanks for sharing your Alaskan cruise.

Regina said...

Beautiful post. Excellent shots. Thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Excellent post ..

Love the water shots with the snowcapped mountains..

What a fun cruise !

srp said...

The Norfolk Botanical Garden here in Virginia has a nesting pair of bald eagles. They have built nests in the high pines and have raised two or three chicks a year for over five years. This year there are three and no drama. Last year there was a problem with an interloper female and a bit of a Peyton Place set up. Only one chick survived and had some medical problems.

What a wonderful trip...

Arija said...

The cruise ship looks hug from that perspective. You obviously had a whale of a time!