Tag Archives: bald eagle


60-18-1Sneaking a peek from the thicket of salmon berry and mountain ash a brown bear checks to see if the coast is clear.  The bruin wants to get to the spawning pink salmon but is often kept away by a herd of nosy and noisy bad mannered tourists.  When the bear does arrive, rather than giving the bear plenty of room to feed,  tourists often crowd the bear hastening his departure before he has had his fill.

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Left:  Soloman Gulch

60-18-5The brown bear, hungry but shy pauses as he works up the courage to approach the salmon and the tourists. This reluctance is something I share with the big brown bear.

60-18-9 (2)As the tide moves out exposing fish killed by feeding Stellar’s sea lions,  the lanky brown bear cleans up.  The Stellar’s sea lions, are afraid of the bear and move away from shore.

61-18-4Like the brown bear, Stellar’s sea lions come to Soloman Gulch to feed on the millions of pink salmon arriving here to spawn.  Over the past twenty -five years, I have witnessed an increasing number of Sellar’s sea lions spending the first week of July near the mouth of Soloman Gulch.   This year I counted over one hundred sea lions together at a nearby resting site during low tide.

5504Pink salmon by the millions arrive at the mouth of Soloman Gulch to spawn.


A stellar’s sea lion bites a pink salmon in half.  This is a common technique used by some of the sea lions.  I overheard some guy telling his wife that they bite them in half so they can swallow the fish in two pieces.  But what actually is happening is a bit different.  Like the bears, the lea lions soon tire of a straight diet of salmon and quickly begin to be more selective.  What they want more than anything are the eggs.  That’s why both bears and sea lions both often drop the males soon often they are caught.  When a sea lion catches an egg-laden female salmon they may bite hard  at the head end of the fish then violently jerk the fish to the side, ripping it in half and keeping the salmon head and guts along with the eggs in its mouth.  The photo above shows the sea lion had the wrong end of the salmon and was left with just a tail.  Visitors often comment on how wasteful the sea lions are but nothing really goes to wast.  Bears, gulls, bald eagles, sea otters, harbor seals get what the sea lions leave behind, not to mention all the other hungry fish and crabs and other marine scavengers.

60-18-10 (2)The brown bear grabs a small salmon and carries it back to the seclusion of Soloman Gulch.





61-14-33Steller’s sea lions hauled out on rocks along Alaska’s coast.

Going through ten thousand photos and trying to pick out the best is a daunting task.  That was my goal upon returning home from two week photograph trip to coastal Alaska.  You must be ruthless and delete the vast majority of shots.  There is really not much sense in keeping too many of your photographs.  They clutter up your files and make it hard to have the cream, those photos with value, at your finger tips.  And when you have whittled your work down to bare bones it makes your entire collection look its best.  As you might expect bringing the cream to the top is not so easy.  Deleting shots that took a lot of work and more than a little luck requires a collection already bulging with good material and knowledge of what has a chance of being published in this market of low demand and high, very high supply.  I pick my keepers by asking questions. Continue reading


Each spring herring mass by the millions along isolated sections of Alaska coast in preparation for their annual spawn.   Recently I had a fantastic trip to photograph the bird and mammal predators that are on hand for this spectacular feast.61-14-9Large rafts of resting Steller’s sea lions assemble between sessions of frenzied feeding. Continue reading