A visit to the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines Alaska has been on my bucket list for several years. I wish I had not waited so long to visit this spectacular place. I signed up for Andy Long's photography WORKSHOP and spent 6 days there. We met in Juneau on Nov. 10, took a short flight to Haines on the 11th (the scheduled ferry trip was cancelled), and the ferry back to Juneau in the late afternoon on the 17th. I arrived a day early to spend time exploring Juneau. The highlight of my time in Juneau was finding a flock of Long-tailed Ducks near a salmon hatchery. I saw a Long-tailed Duck on St. Paul Island at a great distance, but this was a photographic Lifer for me.
Click on images for a larger view.
The Chilkat Preserve is the site of largest concentration of Bald Eagles in the world. Thousands of Bald Eagles gather there to feed during the late run of chum salmon from November through January. The Takhinsha Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for photographing the eagles and other wildlife.
One day we met Joe Ordonez (photographer, local guide and naturalist, and author of Where Eagles Gather, the Story of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve). I purchased his book after I returned to Pensacola. A quote from the book follows.
"In the heart of the preserve, the Chilkat, Klehini, and Tsirku Rivers come together. This is where thousands of eagles can be seen in November. Gathered together with their white heads and dark bodies, they appear as politicians of yesteryear with their powdered wigs and black robes, assembled to discuss important affairs of state. For this reason, this place is called the Bald Eagle Preserve Council Grounds."