#163: Glaucous-winged gull; Seward, Alaska; August 25, 2011
Glaucous-winged gulls have pink feet, dark eyes, red on the bottom of the bill, no black at the back.
The light was starting to go but we took our rental car for a last-chance ride along the shore where we tried to capture some very sneaky seabirds! Please excuse these rotten pics...I swear it gets much better after these!
#164: Pigeon Guillemot (juvenile); Seward, Alaska; August 25, 2011
The first bird I saw was a juvenile bald eagle in a tree beside the lagoon behind our hotel. Like I said, eagles are everywhere in Alaska, but always pretty special.
A little farther down I spotted a few cormorants drying out their wings. I noticed that people didn't say the word "cormorant" with nearly the amount of disdain as they do here.
Watching them dry their wings was so hilarious that I actually took a video. This is my first video here so I'm trying to figure this out...maybe next time I'll do it in YouTube so I can make it a little bigger. Anyway, they were doing this when I arrived, kept at it while I watched them, and were still going when I left! Too bad I couldn't lend them the blow dryer from the hotel.
I spent forever trying to get a good shot of one these guys. Once I looked closely, I realized that this is a lifer I could see at home!
#165: Orange-crowned warbler; Seward, Alaska; August 26, 2011
Unfortunately the orange crown is rarely visible in the field.
#166: Northwestern Crow; Seward, Alaska; August 26, 2011
The crows in Seward were grabbing little mussels from the water and cracking them on the rocky beach...neat to watch. Don't see crows doing that at home!
|kind of an awkward pose...|
The boys returned from fishing and reported that they saw puffins in the bay and knew that I would be so disappointed if I didn't see them too. We checked into the cruise ship and came back into town after dropping my dad off (he was in desperate need of a nap...poor dad, I always run him ragged) and picking up Matt's mom Mary. The charters were prohibitively expensive so Matt set to trying to get me out into the bay for those puffins. We were getting pretty desperate, but he ends up asking a random guy in the marina. It was the best thing that could have happened...he was a great guy and we all had an amazing time on this little "private tour" of Resurrection Bay. We headed out and it wasn't too long until what I was waiting for popped into view...
AND THIS IS THE PART OF THE TRIP WHEN I JUST ABOUT DIED FROM JOY.
#167: Horned Puffin; Resurrection Bay, Alaska; August 26, 2011
|OMG. OMG. OMG........just OMG.|
|OMG - I want a haircut just like this!|
|Horned and tufted puffins together!|
|Steller sea lions|
I took pictures of these swimming birds everywhere and didn't realize till we got home that they were all different kinds!
#169: Ancient Murrelet; Resurrection Bay, Alaska; August 26, 2011
(You can barely see it, but check out the white tufts of hair on the back of its head. Most similar birds have black bills, but this one's is lighter)
Ken took us out to another rookery, which was mostly kittiwakes...
#170: Common Murre; Resurrection Bay, Alaska; August 26, 2011
|Here's one zooming along with a puffin!|
|this is Alaska?|
|Stunning scenery everywhere|
|With our captain, Ken, Mary, Matt, me.|
By the end of the day, it was time to say goodbye to spectacular Seward and jump on board the Radiance. A big part of me felt really guilty about trading in pristine, rugged, beautiful Alaska for a packaged vacation on a mega ship.
And I was so flippin high on seeing those puffins that I was pretty sure that
a. I was never going to come down
b. there was no way the rest of the trip was going to compare.
Well, don't you worry...the rest of the trip was just as great, and there's lots more to come!
|The town of Seward was dwarfed by our megaship.|