Alaska 2014 trip
   
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In June 2014, I spent about 3 weeks in Alaska. On the right you can see the main destinations. Photos from each destination are shown on separate pages. On this page you can see some photos from the trip. I rented a car and spent 14 days on-the-road driving around in Southcentral Alaska. In total I covered about 1940 miles or 3120 km, much less than I have been driving on recent trips in the lower states or in Australia. First I drove north via the Mat-Su Valley to the Denali area, where I spent a small week in typical inland environment. Although not strictly allowed by the car rental company, I spent a couple of days on the Denali Highway between Cantwell and Paxson. And although not paved, the road was more than good enough to drive with a regular car. I went almost halfway down the 320 km long highway, and this drive was one of the most amazing experiences during the trip. A highly recommended stretch to explore. The last week I spent on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage. This area is much more crowded than the inland, especially during the salmon run, which I happened to run into. Large crowds of locals had gathered to catch Red (sockeye) salmon in the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. Quite a spectacle, and the campsites were filled to the rim. I went to Homer for a flight to the Katmai National Park, and then to Seward for a Kenai Fjords cruise. I also visited Whittier, situated in the Prince William Sound area. But as it was unfortunately pouring down while I was there, I cut the stay short. The last day I spent along the Turnagain Inlet just south of Anchorage. Here I visited the gold digger town of Hope, and also the Crow Creek Mine, which offered the visitors to pan for gold in the riverbed spoils. I ended the road trip with another visit to Potter Marsh in the outskirts of Anchorage. Potter Marsh is a wetland good for birding, but I did not see much there except gulls and Arctic terns.

Weather-wise it was a mixed experience. I had two sunny days in Denali NP, and also some sunny days in the south, as well as 3 rainy days and the rest with overcast. I guess about what should be expected, and not that different from Norwegian conditions. Nature-like Alaska also resembled Norway, with snow-capped mountains, green fjords from glacier minerals, wilderness and lots of mosquitos. Many of the bird and wildflower species I saw are also common in Northern Europe, so maybe it was not so strange that many Scandinavians settled in this frontier state after emigrating from Europe.

 

Places visited during my stay in Alaska 2014

Alaskan wilderness, on the plane from Anchorage to St. Paul Island

 

Near Dillingham in Western Alaska

On St. Paul Island among old Fin whale bones

 

Birders at St. Paul Island

Local shopping center in St. Paul Village

 

The canteen at the Trident factory where we had all our meals while staying at St. Paul Island. The food was in fact excellent, and nothing to complain about

Arctic Fox, St. Paul Island

 

Lake Hill crater lake, St. Paul Island

Mat-Su Valley

 

Gas station in Wasilla (home of Sarah Palin)

Into Denali NP at 05.30 in the morning for an early shuttle bus departure

 

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), common in Alaska

Canyon Village near the Denali NP entrance

 

Pizza in Canyon Village after spending 12 hours in Denali NP

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

 

Alaska Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja unalaschcensis)

On the Denali Highway

 

Denali Highway

View from Denali Highway north towards the Alaska Range Mountains

 

Home of mosquitos

Marsh Labrador Tea (Rhododendron tomentosum) "finnmarkspors"

 

American Wigeon (Anas americana)

More Alaskan wilderness (Denali Highway)

 

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

Potter Marsh boardwalk just south of Anchorage

 

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Potter Marsh

Roadside bull Moose (Alces alces) at dawn

 


Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) feasting on Halibut leftovers from local fishermen

Prince William Sound

 

Wet Alaskan wilderness

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Kenai, Alaska

 

Short-Billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus), Kenai, Alaska

Whittier, a Prince William Sound town

 

Turnagain Inlet

Kenai Peninsula beaver (Castor canadensis)

 

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

Juvenile Bald Eagle

 

Adult Bald Eagle

Fishing frency at the mouth of Kasilof River. The locals used dipnet fishing and were allowed to catch 25 salmon each

 

Catch of the day - Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), locally called Red salmon

Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) feeding on Sockeye salmon leftovers

 

Kasilof River dipnetting after Sockeye salmon, June 26, 2014

Kenai Peninsula river

 

Mountain vegetation

Dall Sheep, Steward Highway

 

Near Exit Glacier, Kenai Peninsula

Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis)

 

Kenai Peninsula near Exit Glacier

Cow Moose (Alces alces), Kenai River Mouth flats

 

Cow Moose (Alces alces), Cooper Landing, Kenai Peninsula

Homer, the halibut capital of the world

 

Homer

In Homer I stayed in a spacious room at A Fishermans Resort. They even had a fish-processing factory in the basement!

 

Homer Spit seen from the plane

Ninilchik, an old Russian settlement on Kenai Peninsula

 

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

Hope museum. House used by the gold diggers around 1900

 

Gold digging equipment. They used hydraulic pumps (water-canons) by the end of the 1800-century

Alaska beer is often sold in these strange glasses

 

At the Crow Creek Gold Mine

     
Temporary bird list Alaska mainland    
1 American Robin Turdus migratorius
2 American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea
3 American Wigeon Anas americana
4 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
5 Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
6 Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
7 Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
8 Barrows Goldeneye Bucephala islandica
9 Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
10 Black-billed Magpie Pica hudsonia
11 Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
12 Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapilla
  Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani
13 Boreal Owl (sound) Aegolius funereus
14 Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
15 Canada Goose Branta canadensis
16 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
17 Common Merganser Mergus merganser
18 Common Murre Uria aalge
19 Common Raven Corvus corax
20 Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea
21 Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
22 Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
23 Gadwall Anas strepera
24 Glacious-winged Gull Larus glaucescens
25 Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
26 Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla
27 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
28 Gray-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus
29 Gray-crowned Rosy Finch Leucosticte tephrocotis
30 Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis
31 Greater Scaup Aythya marila
32 Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
33 Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
34 Herring Gull Larus argentatus
35 Horned Puffin Fratercula corniculata
36 Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris
37 Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus
  Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
38 Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
39 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
40 Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus
41 Mew Gull Larus canus
42 Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
43 Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
44 Northern Pintail Anas acuta
45 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
46 Northwestern Crow Corvus caurinus
47 Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica
48 Pacific/Winter Wren Troglodytes pacificus
49 Parakeet Auklet Aethia psittacula
50 Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus
51 Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba
52 Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator
53 Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
54 Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
55 Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
56 Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata
57 Rock Dove Columba livia
58 Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
59 Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
60 Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
61 Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
62 Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
63 Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
64 Surf Scooter Melanitta perspicillata
65 Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
66 Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata
67 White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
68 Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus
69 Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
 

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)

Mew Gull (Larus canus brachyrhynchus)