During the last week of May 2014, I obtained lots of video
and photos during a sea cruise with Holland America from
Seattle to Alaska. I saw lots of seabirds during the transit from
Seattle to Juneau, including several Black-footed Albatrosses, lots of Leach’s
Storm Petrels, a few Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, several unidentified Shearwaters
(some with white underwings and some with dark underwings), and many alcids. I saw
lots of whales and other sea mammals at various points during the trip.
My favorite part of the trip was going up Mt. Roberts in Juneau and seeing
Rock Ptarmigans. I was expecting the ptarmigans to be in breeding plumage and was initially
taken aback by the stunning white plumage. I heard one of them calling and the
video shows the field marks well enough for positive identification. I was
amazed by the flight and rapid bursts of wingbeats of that species. It was
difficult to track a pair through the viewfinder of the video camera as they
passed in front of patches of snow during a meandering flight. There was an
amusing photo-bombing by a Bald Eagle during the filming of
a singing Fox Sparrow. I was blown away by the beauty of Glacier Bay. It
was the first time I was able to really study the Arctic Tern. I was
amused to see a Black-legged Kittiwake resting on a small iceberg.
Movie 1 (14:50) Seabirds off the coast of British Columbia and Alaska.
Movie 2 (14:47) A continuous stream of video that gives an impression of the abundance of alcids off the southern coast of Alaska.
Movie 3 (6:40) The approach to Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier.
Movie 4 (11:56) The tram up Mt. Roberts and Rock Ptarmigans in flight.
Movie 5 (8:00) Spectacular scenery and wildlife in Glacier Bay.
Movie 6 (14:57) Hiking in Sitka.
Movie 7 (10:48) Sitka to Mt. St. Helens.
Scroll down to view the photos below.
Arriving at Juneau.
Note how the glacier dwarfs the kayakers in the left foreground.
The tram up Mt. Roberts.
The Westerdam parked near the base of the tram.
A pair of Rock Ptarmigans (one of them was calling).
Entering the spectacular Glacier Bay.
Landscape that was carved by a glacier.
Sea Otter with its stone on its belly.
Arriving in Sitka.
The Westerdam from up the mountain.
Arriving in Ketchikan.
A pair of Murres.
The tail of a Humpback Whale.
Arriving in Victoria.
Mt. Rainier in the distance (where six hikers perished the day before).
Approaching Mt. St. Helens.