Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We Love Valdez, Alaska

We only spent two days in Valdez on the coast of Alaska but it was an amazing two days. The drive is beautiful, even if it is raining. Our first day we were able to go out on my uncle Dan's boat to Prince William Sound. We saw several Humpback Whales close to the boat and Dall's Porpoise were playing with the boat; they look like small Killer Whales with a crazy spray.

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) - with calf

                                              Dall's Porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)

We got to see the Columbia Glacier along with several Sea Otters, which are super cute. The Glacier had large chunks of ice floating in the water. We picked a small one up for the cooler to keep our drinks cold.

As you can see below Valdez is one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

The next day we went Halibut fishing and had a blast! We all got our limit of Halibut and made it back to see some fisherman do some Salmon seining. It is amazing to see them do this. But the fishermen are not the only ones catching fish, so are the Sea Lions! If you get a chance to spend time in Valdez take at least a week. You will not regret it.

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) feeding on Pink Salmon or Humpback Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)

Steller's Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatusfeeding on Pink Salmon or Humpback Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bears OH MY OH MY and Wood Bison TOO!

We were really disappointed in our trip to Denali National Park. We thought we would see a LOT of animals and we only saw a couple of Moose far away and some (4) Carabou which we were really excited about but had hoped for more. We spent two days there and nothing. We saw no bears in Alaska at all. Feeling a little defeated on the bear front in Alaska, we headed back to the lower 48. On the road between Watson Lake (YT) and Fort Nelson (BC) we were surprised to see 11 Black Bear and 3 Grizzlies! The Grizzlies were a momma and 2 babies. We actually spent about 2 hours on the side of the road photographing them! We got LOTs of pics of the Black Bear as well. There were also several Wood Bison on the side of the road which are a little different than our Plains Bison; Wood Bison have a larger hump on the shoulders. Below are the photos of these amazing animals. If you ever have the chance to visit northern British Columbia you must take the Alaskan Highway from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson not only are there TONS of animals, but there are also a LOT of beautiful vistas! Check out our Flickr page for more pictures (click on any photo to reach our Flickr page).

American black bear (Ursus americanus)

A baby Black Bear

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)

Wood Bison, Mountain Bison, Wood Buffalo or Mountain Buffalo (Bison bison athabascae)

About Me

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John is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin. Kendra is a Professor at St. Edwards University in Austin. John has focused on dragonflies and damselflies in his career. He has two books Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-central United States and The Damselflies of Texas. He is currently working on the Dragonflies of Texas. John and Kendra are also currently both working on revising the Peterson Field Guide to Insects of North America. We have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world where we enjoy taking photos of pretty much anything that will allow us to capture its image. We are lucky enough to be able to teach students about the amazing biodiversity we see and to travel and photograph together.