Thursday, August 04, 2011

Kenai Fjords National Park Wildlife Part 1

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Sea Lions, Kenai Fjords National Park
This may be the second to the last part of my featured series on Harding Icefield and Kenai Fjords National Park. As much as I love this natural park where the ice, sea and mountains meet, and where the Ice age still lingers, I am excited as well to share our other adventure trips in Alaska. However, rest assured, I will go back to share more natural features of Kenai Fjords National Park that we were able to experience. 
This post is about the wildlife in Kenai Fjords that we were lucky enough to see and experience. Though Kenai Fjords National Park is famous for its black bear and mountain goat population, but we only saw a black bear and mountain goat from very far that my camera only showed a small black dot for the black bear and a hazy cloud of white for the mountain goat, not good enough to be shared :) The only land mammal we saw very close to us was a hoary marmot, he surprised us during our Harding Icefield hike.
Hoary Marmot
Hoary marmots are the largest North American ground squirrels, their largest population is in Alaska, but they are found throughout the Northwest, in northwest Canada to Washington, Idaho and Montana. 
If however we were not so lucky enough to spot wild animals on land at Kenai Fjords, we were lucky enough to spot a lot of marine animals. The most abundant sea wildlife we saw in the fjords are the Stellar sea lions. 
Stellar sea lions are the largest members of the otariid, or "eared seal family". Another group of marine mammals we saw in Kenai Fjords are the whales. Though they are very hard to photograph, because they seem to jump and leap in surprising places and time, but with some patience and luck, we were able to capture some of them with our lens. We saw two different whales in Kenai, the humbpack and the orca. 
Breaching Humpback Whale
Orca
Humpback whales spend their time from mid-April to November feeding around Kenai Fjords National Park. Each day, a humpback eats a ton of food.
Humpback Whale
During the winter months, humpback whales migrate to and breeds in waters of Mexico and Hawaii. Their migration allows us to see them in the waters close to San Diego Coast, and where every winter, whale watching has been one of our favorite activities in San Diego. 
Breaching Humpback Whale
What makes it special seeing the whales here is because the whales are so close to the mountains. Kenai Fjords National Park is bounded by the mountains and the sea, and where more than half of it is buried in glacial ice. 
One of the cutest sea mammals we saw at Kenai Fjords are the sea otters.
Sea Otter
It is very inspiring to know that the sea otter holds the role of being a "keystone species"  for the fjord estuary ecosystems of Alaska. Keystone species link the whole ecosystem. If the sea otter population is healthy, then one can conclude that the ecosystem it lives in is healthy. Please click Kenai Fjords Estuary Ecosystem, to learn more.

Since I do not want to overwhelm you with so much pictures and information in one post, I will continue sharing the other marine wildlife and sea birds in Kenai Fjords National Park that we were lucky enough to experience in my next post. 

PS....I would like to thank Nature Center Magazine for featuring my blog for this week, I really appreciate it and no words can describe the simple joy your feature has brought to my day. 
♥♥
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23 comments:

  1. You have those experiences that I have yet to find.

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  2. betchai, these critter shots are amazing and how I would love to see a humpback whale up close and personal. Thanks for all the info as well. Great post.

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  3. Great pictures of these animals. This is the closest I'll ever get to them.

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  4. I have never been to this place therefore never seen a squirrel like that before. It is really different.

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  5. thanks for this nice post.i like this post.

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  6. beautiful post.your exprience is amazing.thanks for sharinf this wonderful post,.

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  7. As always, this has been a wonderful post with great photography. I didn't see Alaska as up close and personal as you did. Our large cruise ship did get as close to wild life as you did though we did see whales which was pretty exciting.

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  8. Another nice selection to share, sooooo cooloing in a hot summer heat.

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  9. Seeing them up close, or at least within focus, like these must be amazing, Betchai! I'm never overwhelmed with your fantastic photos..but will wait for the next round.

    Congrats on being featured on Nature Blog, too!

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  10. How amazing to see these animals with your own eyes! The whales are especially majestic!!!

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  11. Your marmot is so cute! The marine animals are beautiful.

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  12. Wow! I would love to see a humpback whale or an Orca!

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  13. Amazing nature and animals.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  14. what an amazing nature show and theatrical acts. so priceless.

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  15. A truly enjoyable post. I am like everyone else; I like the whales but the seals are very interesting.

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  16. aahhhh as always catching my breath here and smiling with joy...my favorite photo is that of the Hoary marmot:-)..so proud to be your friend Betchai! :D

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  17. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind.

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  18. Lovely pictures. Nice photography.

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  19. I feel like going directly into Seaworld. Loves the otters!

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  20. How wonderful! It was the same time that the Silliman Alumni of North America had a reunion in Alaska, and some places are the same as where you went. If I had attended, we could by chance meet.

    These are as close as I could see Alaska, your photos are lovely.

    I am getting back to hiking and will be at one group this weekend at Satwiwa in Thousand Oaks.

    Hope I could be actively blogging, I am just too busy with work.

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  21. your snaps inspires me to become photographer.. thanks :)
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  22. Lovely pictures and awesome photography..

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!