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Each year in November through December, bald eagles migrate to the Chilkat River near Haines, Alaska to take advantage of the season’s last run of spawning chum salmon. Open areas of the river give the eagles a chance at this rich source of protein before winter fully sets in. As many as 3,500 eagles can congregate here. More than 2,000 eagles gathered in 2019 on what is called Alaska’s Bald Eagle Council Grounds.
This gathering of eagles is truly a magical event. I will lead a small group of guests to photograph eagles as they battle for fish, soar in the sky overhead, or perch in nearby frost-covered trees. I’ll be available in the field to help with camera settings, composition, and selection of prime locations.
Our journey will begin in Juneau as we board the ferry to Haines. The ferry will traverse through the gorgeous Alaska Inside Passage. From there we transfer to our hotel. Each day we will venture out to the Chilkat River to photograph eagles, other wildlife and scenery. On the final day, we will photograph eagles in the morning and then catch the ferry back to Juneau.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to photograph the eagles. The ideal lens is a 200-400mm. These particular lenses allow you to zoom in on more distant eagles as well as any birds that are close by. A tripod is useful to hold the camera and lens in position while awaiting an attractive pose.
Haines Alaska is often very cold in mid-November. Last year the temperatures ranged from 25°F down to zero. Warm winter boots that are comfortable for short hikes are essential. Also, bring warm rain pants, or snow pants, winter jacket, neck scarf, and hat for both you and the camera will come in handy. Warm gloves and glove liners will allow you to shoot and warm up your hands when they get cold. Bring warm clothes to prepare for the worst.
This trip does not require long-distance hiking but we regularly walk on the river’s edge and along the roadside. We traverse snowy and icy spots. You will be carrying your camera and tripod and you’ll want to be safe. Even though the usual walking distances are less than 100 yards, if you have trouble walking or hiking this trip may not be for you. People of average physical condition for hiking will have no problem.
See the brochure linked above for more details including cancellation policies.