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The Bald Eagle has never been uncommon in Alaska. The restoration of the Bald Eagle population has been a success in the lower forty-eight where population declined from east to west and north to south. They really needed help.
But Alaska, well Alaska has all the eagles you can imagine. In the Southeast while aboard the NatGeo/Lindblad Sea Bird with some Smithsonian Journeys travelers we figured that there were a pair of eagles every mile or so along the shore – and there is a lot of shore. When I was in Sitka looking over the inner harbor I had 23 Bald Eagles over the water in one group; and there were others on bridges, building, trees, and on boat masts. They were less common in Nome but seen in the Denali area along the braided glacial rivers.
They like fish: they catch, steal, and scavenge fish. The waters of the Alaskan coast and rivers provide fish pretty much year round but during the early summer through early fall there are tons of fish in the nearby waters and eagles (and bears and mink and gulls, and nearly everything else) can eat their fill. Fish leave the ocean and return to spawn in the inland rivers – and the predators wait.
I am doing two blog pages on Alaska’s Bald Eagles so that I can show off a great spot (Anchor Point in this blog) and a great story (an eagle swimming ashore with a large salmon in the next blog).
This page will show eagles from Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula. Like most of Alaska there are spectacular views here. The mountains across the Cook Inlet from the Kenai are gorgeous and present several of the areas active volcanoes. While we were there Iliamna was spewing steam into the blue sky through it’s snow-covered shoulder while its neighbor Redoubt stood majestically in the same view. These two volcanic mountains rise over 10,000 feet right from the edge of the sea. The island chain heads south and then west leading out to the nearly 1500 mile long Aleutian Island archipelago.
Anchor Point is the location where Captain Cook, while looking for a northwest passage, lost his anchor in the fast and powerful tidal flow of these Pacific waters. Now Anchor Point is a smallish stopping off point for travelers and a place where a tractor will back your boat trailer into the water allowing your boat to float free for a day of halibut fishing; or salmon fishing in the spring. Upon your return they meet you in shallow water and you drive your boat onto your trailer which they have backed into the sea with their machine. The tidal exchange and the strength of the tide water currents, as well as the potential for large storms, prohibit building a pier in this area. But, where there is a will there’s a way – and that way is by tractor not ramp.