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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:06   #1
HelenB
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Alaskan Birding From A Cruise Ship

BIRDING ALASKA FROM A CRUISE SHIP

If you would like to see an illustrated version of this trip report, part 1 can be found on my website:
http://helensbirds.homestead.com/alaska02.html

Part 1 - Introduction and Planning details

The following is a write up of the birding opportunities possible while taking a cruise from Alaska south along the Inside Passage to Vancouver. It also includes 2 days of birding in Anchorage prior to the beginning of the cruise.

Itinerary
Anchorage & Hwy 1 en route to Seward
College Fjord & Glacier Bay
Skagway, Juneau & Ketchikan
Queen Charlotte Sound to Vancouver

Planning
We had always wanted to do an Alaskan Cruise, so when my husband knew he was going to Anchorage for a business meeting in August, we decided that this would be a good starting off point. (This cruise can also be done starting in Vancouver and ending in Alaska). There are several cruise lines, which do the Inside Passage, but the Princess Line was the only one which fitted in well with the dates we had available, due to the business trip. We booked through a local travel agent in May 2002 and our ship was the Ocean Princess, leaving Seward on Sat. Aug 3rd at 10pm, arriving in Vancouver on Sat. Aug 10th, at 7:30am. This was our first ever cruise and the experience with Princess was excellent.

A search on the web found Bird Watching Tours of Anchorage, so I booked a morning trip for my first day. This proved to be an excellent 4-hour trip, netting 3 lifers and was well worth the $75. I did have a rental car in Anchorage to enable me to do some birding and photography on my own.

We decided that we would not take some of the shore excursions offered by Princess, as none of them were specifically birding oriented. Juneau looked as though it had some good birding, so for this stop and the next day in Ketchikan, we called ahead and booked rental cars. In Juneau we chose Avis from the International Airport, not realising that this was 12 miles from where the ship docked, so this incurred an extra US$40 in taxi fares. In Ketchikan we used Budget, which had a pick up & drop off service to & from the cruise ship dock (about 10 minutes drive). The cost of hiring a car for the day was about US$55, plus gasoline – a lot cheaper than the excursions, for example, a 4 hour Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest out of Juneau, would have cost US$105 per person.

Equipment
We took our scope, which packed nicely into my roller backpack. The tripod went into one of the suitcases, and our bins & cameras went into another carry-on. We had 2 digital cameras – an Olympus C700UZ (with 10x optical zoom) and a brand new Nikon CoolPix 4500, which I hoped to be able to use with my Swarovski AT-80 HD spotting scope to get some digiscoped photos. My husband had his laptop computer with him (for the business trip) so we had no problem with running out of memory cards, as we could download the images and clean the cards every night.

Airport Security (as of July/August 2002)
The laptop had to be opened up & switched on at both Houston IAH & Vancouver, but the cameras were only inspected at Vancouver, where I had to turn them on. No one asked to see the scope. Digital cameras & memory cards will pass through the X-ray machines with no problems.

Useful books, websites, etc
The Guide to Birds of Alaska, Robert H. Armstrong. 4th edition, 1995 ISBN 0-88240-462-8

Birds of North America, Kenn Kaufman. 2000 ISBN 0-395-96464-4

Alaska by Cruise Ship, Anne Vipond. 3rd edition 2002 ISBN 0-9697991-5-2 – has some very useful general information and maps.

I searched the archives of the Birdchat web forum for trip reports, but found that there was not much information available for the Southeast part of Alaska, though I did find a report on Blake Maybank’s website from someone who had done a cruise on a smaller ship: the S.S. Universe Explorer, a 617-ft vessel. His write up from a birding perspective, was very informative. URL as follows: http://maybank.tripod.com/USA/AK/AK-07-97.htm

I also posted a request for information (RFI) on Birdchat and had several replies which were very useful in the planning. Thanks to all the wonderful birders on Birdchat who sent me their Alaskan experiences and advice.


Other useful sites as follows:

Birding related sites in Alaska: http://www.anchoragebirding.com/Birding%20Links.html

Tina MacDonald’s “Where do you want to go birding in Alaska today”: http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/usalaska.htm

Tina’s account of Potter Marsh, Anchorage: http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/H...tersMarsh.html

Eagle River Nature Center (25 miles NE of Anchorage): http://www.ernc.org/

Bird Watching Tours of Anchorage: http://www.anchoragebirding.com/

Best Birding Sites around Juneau: http://home.gci.net/~juneaubird/birdspot.html

Ketchikan area recreation, including Ward Lake: http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/rec...es/ktnrec.html


General:
Alaska’s National Parks: http://www.nps.gov/akso/gis/parklist.htm

Alaska’s State Parks (also lists Nature Centers, State Recreation Areas, etc): http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/aspbro/index.htm

Big Game Alaska – wildlife rehab. center http://www.biggamealaska.com/index.htm

Parts 2,3 & 4 in this thread are posted below.

Photo of HelenB, birding from the ship in Glacier Bay, below:
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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:17   #2
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Part 2 - Anchorage section

PART 2 - ANCHORAGE SECTION

To see an illustrated report on this section, please go to my website at: http://helensbirds.homestead.com/alaskapt2.html

Wednesday, 31st July 2002
Arrive in Anchorage 4pm, pick up the Avis car and head for the Hotel Captain Cook, where my husband’s business meeting was being held. After unloading our luggage we drove to Potter Marsh at the southern end of the Coastal Wildlife Refuge, along the Turnagain Arm, south of Anchorage. It was a glorious sunny evening and we stayed there for a couple of hours, watching the shorebirds, gulls, ducks and salmon that were making their way up Rabbit Creek, which flowed through the middle of the marsh.

Thursday, 1st August 2002
Bird Watching Tours of Anchorage picked me up at the hotel at 8am. They have a comfortable minibus, seating about 12 people, but there were only 4 of us that morning. Our guide/driver was very informative and took us to some places in Anchorage that I would never have found on my own. The first stop was at Westchester Lagoon, where the first bird seen, a Greater Scaup - was a lifer for me! Also seen here: Red-necked Grebes on floating nests, Common Loon, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Mallard and Herring Gulls. The next stop was on a section of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail near the mouth of Chester Creek, which overlooked the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet. The clear weather gave us a good view of Mount McKinley in the distance. Here we saw an Alder Flycatcher - my 2nd lifer, and a pair of Steller’s Jays, in the trees by the trail. Out on the mudflats, there were Short-billed Dowitchers, Mew Gulls, Arctic Terns and Mallards. We then drove to Lake Spenard, a docking area for most of the float planes in Anchorage, and saw more Geater Saup and Red-necked Grebes, plus a family of Common Goldeneyes. At the fourth stop, we found a pair of Pacific Loons on Delong Lake, making my 3rd lifer of the day.

Drinks and snacks were provided mid-morning, while we looked down on a couple Sandhill Cranes on a section of the Coastal Wildlife Refuge, from the southwest side of Anchorage, overlooking the Turnagain Arm. We ended the morning at Potter Marsh, just south of Anchorage, where a Bald Eagle’s nest was pointed out to us - only visible with a scope, which our tour leader had carried along the boardwalk. Just as we were leaving a juvenile Bald Eagle was seen soaring overhead, being mobbed by ravens. South of Potter Marsh is the HQ for the Chugach State Park, and whilst stopped here for a few minutes, we had great views of a Common Redpoll, which popped up right in front of us while we were actually watching a female moose and her calf! At the end of the 4-hour tour we were dropped off at our respective hotels. This was a great introduction to birding in this Alaskan city and I would highly recommend it anyone coming to Anchorage.

After lunch I returned to Westchester Lagoon with my cameras and scope to see if I could get some digiscoped photos of the Red-necked Grebe on her floating nest. Unfortunately the sun was not in the best place and my first try at “digiscoping” in bright sunshine was not very successful. However, a little work in the digital darkroom did salvage one image of a Red-necked Grebe on her floating nest (see website, part 2). The warm weather had brought out lots of people and boaters, so I would definitely recommend a morning visit to this lake!

During dinner that evening, in the restaurant on the 10th floor of the hotel, we overlooked the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet and were treated to views of a pod of Beluga whales passing by quite close in to shore.

Friday, 2nd August 2002
I had researched the Eagle River Nature Center on the Internet, before arriving in Anchorage, and decided that, as the weather was perfect (clear, sunny and unusually warm for Alaska in August!) this was my birding spot for the morning. The 25-mile drive north on Glenn Highway (Hwy 1) took about 40 minutes. There was a $5 daily use/parking fee at the Nature Center, which had an excellent Visitor Center. The docents advised me on which trails would be the best for birding and also, which ones to avoid. I was alone and would have to be careful of bears, which were beginning to come down to the creeks now that the salmon were running. I was told to make plenty of noise and did in fact come across a couple using a bell to warn the bears of their presence. Hardly the best way to bird, but I value my personal safety and would rather not meet face to face with a bear in his territory!

The Rodak Trail (0.75 miles), which was recommended as the most suitable for me, descended from the Nature Center through mixed woodland, to a small lake made by beavers. This was not on the main Eagle River, but there were great views of the 7,000 foot peaks. The beaver lodge was visible in the center of the lake, and the beaver dam could be seen from the boardwalk. The Rodak Trail led into the historic Iditarod Trail which continued eastwards along the valley from the lake. It is a 26-mile one-way route to Girdwood, so I continued through the woodland only as far as Four Corners, about 1 mile from the Nature Center, as the next section was labeled “Bear Meadows”!!

Although I didn’t see many birds at ERNC, the scenery was beautiful and the wild flowers and butterflies, made up for it. On the lake there was a family of Green-winged Teal and some Mallards, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers were roosting in a dead pine tree by the beaver dam. In the woodlands Black-capped Chickadees were common and I was pleased to find some Boreal Chickadees, which were my only lifer of the day. Other passerines seen were: a Lincoln’s Sparrow, 2 juvenile Dark-eyed Juncos, 4 Yellow-rumped Warblers and an Alder Flycatcher.

I drove back to Anchorage, staying on the Seward Highway (#1) through the city, to make another visit to Potter Marsh. I went to the southern end first, turning left into Potter Valley Road and then turning into a gravel parking area to turn around. There is not much view of the marsh from here, but by returning to the Seward Highway north, you can find a small pull-in right on the edge of the marsh. Here I spent some time digiscoping the gulls, before driving back towards Anchorage and turning right where the signs indicated Wildlife Viewing/Potter Marsh. Here there is a parking lot and access to the long boardwalk out over the marsh. I carried the scope and cameras to the very end of the boardwalk, in the hope of spotting the Ruff, which had been there for a couple of weeks, though I’d been told that it hadn’t been seen for the last 4 days. No luck, so I took a few more photos before heading back to Anchorage. New birds seen today were a pair of Common Snipe flying in to the center of the marsh, 3 Savannah Sparrows and a Downy Woodpecker heard in the trees by the parking lot.

After dinner we walked around Anchorage town center and down to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail – a 13 mile walking and cycling trail which begins at the western end of 2nd Ave and follows the coastline south to Kincaid Park. On the coastal plain we saw lots of Canada Geese working over the mudflats. The city was remarkably devoid of small birds, due, we were told, to the nest robbing activities of the local Mew Gulls. The ubiquitous Starlings and House Sparrows seen throughout the US apparently can not survive the winters in Anchorage.

Photo of a Lesser Yellowlegs at Potter Marsh, below:
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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:29   #3
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wow, what a wonderful report, i dont normally comment on items, but just had to say very well done,really enjoyed it,superb

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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:30   #4
HelenB
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ALASKAN BIRDING FROM A CRUISE SHIP: part 3 - cruise section

PART 3 - CRUISE SECTION

For an illustrated report on this section, please go to my website at: http://helensbirds.homestead.com/alaskapt3.html


Saturday, 3rd August 2002
Our cruise was due to depart at 10pm, so we returned our car to the Airport and took the 4pm Princess Line shuttle bus to Seward. Our bus driver gave us a very informative narrative during the 3 hour journey down the Seward Highway and pointed out lots of interesting things. We saw a Dall sheep which had come right down to the highway, and we even managed to get a photo through the bus window. Later we stopped at the Big Game Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation Center, near Portage, where we saw some Black-billed Magpies, Dark-eyed Juncos and a Red Crossbill, singing from the top of a pine tree. After boarding the ship, we went up on deck to look around the harbor, and here we saw several Northwestern Crows (lifer), Violet-green Swallows, Mew and Herring Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes and 2 Bald Eagles, one of which gave us a nice show as he swooped down to steal a tasty tid-bit from a gull on the water. We hoped he’d return to his perch on top of a lamp-post to eat his meal, but he flew off into the woods in the distance.

Sunday, 4th August 2002
The first morning of our cruise on the Ocean Princess, brought us into College Fjord, off Prince William Sound, at about 6:30am, so we skipped breakfast to spend about 2 hours on deck nature watching. This was the most memorable beginning to our cruise experience. The weather was fine and sunny, and the water calm, blue and dotted with small pieces of ice. Herring and Mew Gulls were very common, and we also saw 2 Arctic Terns and a Long-tailed Jaeger - a lifer for me. Other wildlife seen: harbor seals, 2 orcas and lots of sea otters, lazily swimming along on their backs! The glaciers here are named after the eastern universities, such as Harvard.

The rest of the day was spent at sea as we covered the many miles to the beginning of the Inside Passage.

Monday, 5th August 2002
Our second day at sea was spent in the magnificent beauty of the Glacier Bay National Park, which can only be accessed by boat or plane. Glacier Bay was first discovered by John Muir in 1879 and just 200 years ago these shorelines were completely covered by ice. A Park Naturalist joined us from a launch at the entrance to Glacier Bay and with the help of the resident ship's naturalist, we had a commentary on all the nature watching aspects for the day. The weather was clear and sunny, but cold enough to require parkas, hats and gloves, (pity I'd left the gloves at home!) The conditions were perfect for viewing and photographing the glaciers and birds (where possible) and we were told that such weather is a rare phenomena in this part of Alaska. We took the scope onto deck, which aided in identifying Pigeon Guillemots and 2 Tufted Puffins, both lifers. Also seen: Common Murres, Marbled Murrelets, a Long-tailed Jaeger, and 2 Pelagic Cormorants (lifer). By 1:30pm we had reached the end of the Tarr Inlet, where the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers reach the sea. Our ship stayed here for 3 hours so we had good views of the new icebergs calving from the front of the Margerie Glacier. The large chunks of ice cause food rich water to come to the surface – a treat for the numerous Glaucous-winged, Bonaparte & Mew Gulls, and Black-legged Kittiwakes, which were in abundance here. At 4:30pm the ship began it’s journey back along the Tarr Inlet and we left the Glacier Bay National Park to sail on overnight to the next stop in Skagway the following day.

Tuesday, 6th August 2002
Skagway - Fine day with sunny periods.
We had booked a shore excursion on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, because my husband loves trains! The trip took up the whole morning, and really made my husband's day, when they allowed him to ride in the locomotive cab on the journey back down to Skagway. It was not really possible to bird from the train, but we did get a Vaux's Swift (lifer) and a Solitary Sandpiper along the Skagway River, just after leaving town. It is possible to hire a car in Skagway and drive up to White Pass, stopping wherever you want, but we wanted to experience the train ride and see the Trail of 98, which the prospectors took in the Goldrush days, over a century ago.

We returned to the ship for lunch and in the afternoon explored Skagway, and along the eastern side of this small town, near the railroad and creek, we found Chipping Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, Common Raven, Northwestern Crows and Pine Siskin. Heading back towards the harbor, near the train depot and 3rd Street, we found a trailhead leading up into the mountains. We picked up a trail map and set off for Lower Dewey Lake, the shortest hike at 1.4 miles roundtrip. There were excellent views looking down onto the town and harbor and we saw a few birds: more Pine Siskins, Townsend and Blackpoll Warblers and a Hermit Thrush.

Wednesday, 7th August 2002
Juneau

Website for birding around Juneau: http://home.gci.net/~juneaubird/birdspot.html

We had a very wet, windy, cold day (54 degrees F), so not very productive. Had to take a taxi to the Int. Airport to pick up the pre-booked rental car - a journey of 12 miles at a cost of $20. We had planned to drive the 41 miles north on Hwy 7 to Point Bridget State Park, but this turned out to be a total waste of time - we should have done more homework on this SP, as the only way in was by hiking through marsh and forest and with the terrible weather, we didn't have adequate gear with us. I suppose we were expecting a developed State Park with visitor center, decent paths and so on.

On the way back, we stopped at the Eagle Beach State Recreation Area (29 miles north of Juneau). The visitor center was closed and the main parking lot gate was locked, but there was another road leading to the estuary viewing area with sheltered picnic tables, so we were able to set up the scope and keep dry. Not enough light for any decent photography though - pity as there were some good shorebirds and Bald Eagles here.

Heading back into Juneau we took in the Mendenhall Glacier - take Mendenhall Loop Road, heading north off Hwy 7, near the Int. Airport, to get to the visitor center. Drizzling & misty, so didn't get much of a view of this glacier and the only birds seen were: Raven, Barn Swallow, Arctic Tern & Bufflehead. There are lots of trails here for anyone visiting on a nice day. Back on the ship by 2:30pm for a late lunch and in the harbor we saw: Marbled Murrelets, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Mew Gulls, Northwestern Crows and a Pigeon Guillemot.

Mendenhall Glacier area - maps & info:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/naturewatch...smgvc/mgvc.htm

http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/naturewatch...teep_creek.htm

Photo of the Mendenhall Glacier below:
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World - 1047; N America - 629; USA - 414; Texas - 368; Yard (garden) - 136 (Blackburnian Warbler)

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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:36   #5
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ALASKAN BIRDING FROM A CRUISE SHIP: part 3 - last part of cruise section

For an illustrated report on this section, please go to my website at: http://helensbirds.homestead.com/alaskapt3.html


Thursday, 8th August 2002
Ketchikan - raining again, poor visibility.

We had been instructed to call the Budget car rental place on disembarking and they sent a car to pick us up - a much better arrangement than with Avis in Juneau, as it cost us nothing extra. The rental place was at a car dealership on the way north out of town on the N. Tongass Highway. This worked well as we needed this route to get to Ward Lake, which is about 7.5 miles from the center of Ketchikan.

For a map of Ward Lake, go to: http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/rec...ifs/wardm2.gif

In the small community of Ward Cove, you will find that Ward Lake Road (a gravel road) is not accessible from the N. Tongass Hwy, and is now closed by barriers, so continue about another half a mile, until you see a major right turn, off a left hand bend. This is Pipe Line Road and heads northeast into the Tongass National Forest. After about 1.5 miles, take a right turn (south) onto Ward Lake Road, which drops down to the north side of Ward Lake, and park at the Picnic Area. It was pouring with rain again, and now I understood why picnic tables are inside shelters - some even had log burning fireplaces! We walked the 1.3 mile nature trail around the lake, even though the weather was terrible and the visibility poor. We didn't get a big birdcount - 2 Belted Kingfishers, 4 Mallards, 2 Winter Wrens, Stellar's Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Northwestern Crow, Hermit Thrush, and then to brighten up the day, a group of Yellow and Townsend's Warblers working their way through the trees, but the experience of being in a temperate rainforest in such weather is unforgettable! I do regret not taking any photos around Ward Lake, which I'm sure is very beautiful on a nice day.

After returning to Ketchikan, we drove south of the town a little way, finding a very wet Bald Eagle perching on an old broken down jetty. We also looked around the Totem Bight State Park, but the weather was too closed in to find any birds, so we cut the birding day short and returned the car.

For more information on recreation facilities, hiking trails, etc in the Ketchikan area, go to the Tongass National Forest Recreation website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/rec...es/ktnrec.html

Friday, 9th August
At sea down the Inside Passage on the last leg to Vancouver

Overnight, the ship entered Canadian waters and sailed into Queen Charlotte Sound. The Ocean Princess was one of three cruise ships heading into Vancouver the next day. There was good viewing on deck and from our balcony and with my scope I was able to identify Parakeet and Rhinoceros Auklets, both lifers. I could never have done this with only my binoculars. There were lots of Bald Eagles perched at the top of pines along the route. Also, the usual seabirds were seen, plus Bonaparte's Gulls and even the flyby of a hummingbird. Had been told that Rufous Hummingbirds fly out to cruise ships, but this was so fast we couldn't identify it!

From Queen Charlotte Sound the ship passed into a much narrower passage called the Discovery Passage, where the Seymour Narrows were once a major problem for cruise ships, due to fast tidal currents and a dangerous submerged rock, only 9 feet down. The Ripple Rock was eventually blown up in 1958. On leaving the Seymour Narrows, we saw the Cape Mudge Lighthouse as we passed into the Strait of Georgia.

Saturday, 10th August 2002
Vancouver

We came in to Vancouver at dawn, seeing Canada Geese and some cormorants flying across the Burrard Inlet to Stanley Park, where the Lost Lagoon waterfowl sanctuary is located.

Personal note:
If we ever do this cruise again, we will book a couple of days in Vancouver and leave at a more leisurely rate on a weekday. Getting through the airport was not a pleasant experience, with 3 cruise ships all docking that morning and throwing thousands of passengers into the airport system in a short period of time. The lines were horrendous!

Photo of the Inside Passage, with another cruise ship following us, below:
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World - 1047; N America - 629; USA - 414; Texas - 368; Yard (garden) - 136 (Blackburnian Warbler)

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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:44   #6
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ALASKAN BIRDING FROM A CRUISE SHIP: part 4 - species list

List of species seen

For an illustrated report on this section, please go to my website at: http://helensbirds.homestead.com/alaskatriplist.html

Lifers *

Pacific Loon *
Common Loon
Red-necked Grebe
Pelagic Cormorant *
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
American Wigeon
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Greater Scaup *
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Bald Eagle
Merlin
Sandhill Crane
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Common Snipe
Long-tailed Jaeger *
Bonaparte's Gull
Mew Gull (Common Gull in UK)
Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull *
Black-legged Kittiwake
Arctic Tern
Common Murre (Guillemot in UK)
Pigeon Guillemot *
Marbled Murrelet *
Parakeet Auklet *
Rhinoceros Auklet *
Tufted Puffin *
Rock Dove
Vaux's Swift *
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Alder Flycatcher *
Steller's Jay
Black-billed Magpie
Northwestern Crow *
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee *
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Hermit Thrush
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Red Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
House Sparrow

Photo of a Glaucous-winged Gull, in Glacier Bay, below:
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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 19:46   #7
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A wonderful collection of accounts and the birds you saw are both new to me and familiar. Thanks very much!
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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 21:38   #8
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What a wonderful trip you had, Helen -- and thanks for a splendid report!
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Old Friday 8th August 2003, 21:46   #9
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Wow what a wonderful trip and a very interesting report as well. Many thanks for sharing. How many weeks will it take for you to recover?
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Old Saturday 9th August 2003, 03:55   #10
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An excelllent report Helen with some very useful inforamtion and links - I've passed them onto a friend who often does the Alaskan cruises and is very interested in wildlife. Great photos too. You obviously had a wonderful time and a successful birding trip.

I enjoyed checking out the extra photos on your website too
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Old Saturday 9th August 2003, 04:17   #11
Charles Harper
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Nicely done, beautiful country. Many Japanese aboard? Those cruises are well-known here.
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Old Sunday 10th August 2003, 00:55   #12
HelenB
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Thanks, everyone.
Charles - there were a few Japanese on board!
Ian - we did get some good photos, except for the 2 days when it rained!
Tony - I don't think you can have looked at the dates! This trip was last year - I just haven't got around to writing it up till now! I'm definitely fully recovered.
Beverley, Andrew and Harriers - thanks for the nice comments.
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2003, 12:07   #13
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Helen -wonderfully informativeand very interesting. This will be a great resource for anyone planning a similar trip and a lesson to me on how to write a really good trip report! Your pics are lovely too, I loved the glaucous-winged gull in particular. How brave of you to go walking in bear country on your own! I've only ever seen them in movies but they look pretty fearsome! Thanks.
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2003, 20:45   #14
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Thank you for the nice words, Sal.
I'm now writing up a trip we did in April - West Texas and Big Bend National Park - a bit nearer to home! Hope to have it online in the next couple of weeks.
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Old Tuesday 2nd September 2003, 00:03   #15
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Thumbs up

Helen,

methinks, I must visit your website, if what you've posted is an abridged version. Fantastic story, excellent references, and first rate photos!

My neighbors went on the same cruise a couple weeks before you, in the opposite direction. I have been fantasizing about doing the Inside Passage from Seattle to Anchorage aboard the public ferries with nothing but binos and a sleeping bag for some time now. A few years ago, I visited Alaska. I took a day cruise out of Seward and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was spanking new, maybe two months old, to birding. Next time, I do think I could do Alaska right, birdwise...

Looking forward to your homestead site,
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Old Tuesday 2nd September 2003, 03:33   #16
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Helen, that report is of very special interest to me as my husband and I have been talking about travelling the same route for a few years. He wants to do it on a chartered yacht with another couple, but I am more in favour of the cruise ship as it is much easier to see birds from that type of vessel. I have stored your report and will study it in more detail and visit the sites you have supplied. You have really stirred my interest.
A beautifully written report. I look forward to your next one.

Nancy
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Old Tuesday 2nd September 2003, 22:17   #17
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Roadrunner - please do visit my website as there are lots more photos with the report there. We had never done a cruise before and hate being organized, but this was very relaxing - not having to worry about who was going to get us from one place to another or finding restaurants every day. Hope you get to go one of these days.

Nancy - thanks for the compliments - hope you also get to go one of these days.
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Old Sunday 21st September 2003, 13:04   #18
jdbirdman
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Cruise trip report

Hi hellen
I'm trying to upload my trip report from south Africa How did u upload yours with the images? did you just cut and paste from word into New Thread? and how did u get ur images in there?
Great cruise report well done
regards
john
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