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  • Photograph of Humpback Whales

    Humpback Whales by Paul Macklam.

    SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA

    Best Wildlife in Southeastern Alaska

    Mammals
    Humpback Whale (mostly Jul-Aug), Grizzly (Brown) and (American) Black Bears, Steller's Sealion, Dall's Porpoise and Common (Harbour) Seal. Also a chance of Killer and Minke Whales.

    Birds
    The species listed are usually present during the northern summer. Bald Eagle, Harlequin Duck, Varied Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing, and Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds, as well as Trumpeter Swan, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Surf Scoter, Great Northern Diver (Common Loon), Western Grebe, Golden Eagle, American Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Glaucous-winged Gull, Common Guillemot (Murre), Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Belted Kingfisher, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hairy and (American) Three-toed Woodpeckers, Steller’s Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Dipper, Townsend’s, Wilson’s and Yellow Warblers, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Western Tanager, Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows, and Red-winged Blackbird. Also a chance of Blue Grouse.

    Other Natural Wonders of Southeastern Alaska

    Le Conte Glacier This glacier is 34 km (21 miles) long and 1.6 km (1 mile) wide. It calves above and below water, and the icebergs which calve underwater are known as ‘shooters’ due to the speed with which they break the surface.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Southeastern Alaska

    Best Times for Wildlife in Southeastern Alaska

    Humpback Whales are usually present from May to October with peak numbers in July-August, and Grizzly and Black Bears usually fish at this time, mainly in July but also during the first half of September.

    Recommended Books etc. for Southeastern Alaska

    Mammals of Alaska edited by P Rennick. Alaska Geographic Society, 1996.

    Mammals of North America by R W Kays and D E Wilson. PUP, 2009 (Second Edition).

    Mammals of North America by F A Reid. Peterson North American Field Guides, 2006 (Fourth Edition).

    Peterson Field Guide to Finding Mammals in North America by V Dinets. Houghton Mifflin, 2015.

    Field Guide to the Birds of North America edited by J Dunn and J Alderfer. NGS, 2011 (Sixth Edition).

    Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America by K Kaufman. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

    The North American Bird Guide by D Sibley. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).

    Guide to the Birds of Alaska by R H Armstrong. Alaska Northwest Books, 2008. (Fifth Edition).

    A Birder's Guide to Alaska by G C West. ABA, 2008 (Second Edition).


    Apps etc.


    National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America.

    The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America.

    Peterson Birds of North America.

    Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds.

    iBird Ultimate Guide to Birds.

    Trip Reports for Southeastern Alaska

    Many trip reports, some for Southeastern Alaska, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Southeastern Alaska. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Southeastern Alaska' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Southeastern Alaska

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Southeastern Alaska

    Some Organized Tours to Southeastern Alaska

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who are running organized tours to Southeastern Alaska in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.