Alaska wildlife photography tours should include three main elements: mobility, comfort, and unique access to wildlife. The Single Star’s mobility and ability to stay on site increases your time on shore and in the field. You don’t have to sacrifice access to remote Alaska for your own creature comforts while living aboard the Single Star. Our accommodations are comparative with the finest Alaska lodges so you get the best of both worlds. Wake up at your destination, have breakfast while you watch bears on the beach or opt for some of the many species of birds nearby. Cameras, tripods and other gear are easily transported ashore and ample time is allowed for set up. Every experience is unique, tailored to fit guest’s interests, follow the wildlife and take advantage of the good weather.
Alaska summers are short but intense, with days that last into the night thanks to the Midnight Sun. The specific wildlife and their activity changes rapidly as the days wax and wane. What you see and experience on your Alaskan wildlife adventure depends greatly on when you choose to cruise.
Summer is just beginning in Southwestern Alaska, days are long and vegetation is greening up the meadows and hillsides. If you are interested in Katmai photography tours to get a chance to see Katmai bears flock to the coast to mate and feast along the tidal flats of the Alaska Peninsula then this is the time of year for you. This is one of the few places in the world where bears are known to dig and eat clams. Late- Spring to early- Summer is mating season for the brown bears. Play, mating, and sparring behaviors are at there peak-what an opportunity for unique photos.
Puffins, black oyster catchers, kittiwakes and more are now predictably sitting on their nests either on the rocky cliffs high above the water or in the sandy gravel safely above high tide. Humpback whales and their calves plus fin whales have returned and are now aggressively feeding on the abundant schools of feeder fish.
For the brown bears, mating season will soon be winding down and the sows with winter’s newborn cubs are more comfortable with being in the meadows and along the shore. This is a great time to catch photos of cubs nursing and playing. The bears are starting to congregate at the mouths of the rivers waiting for the arrival of the first salmon runs beginning mid- to late- July (exact dates are unpredictable).. In late July, eggs of the nesting birds start hatching. Whales are active this time of year. Most outgoing are the humpbacks who breach, slapping their pectoral fins, often with calves in tow. Wildflowers are in full bloom in the meadows and cracks of rocky cliffs.
August is fishing time for the bears as schools of massive salmon pushing their way up the streams to be caught in the jaws of the great coastal brown bears, the most iconic image of any Katmai photography tour. By now the bear no longer appear lean, they are showing their stores of winter fat. Sows are still ever vigilant with their cubs, teaching them how to fish. This is one of our favorite wildlife activities to discretely photograph or video.
Adult puffins and kittiwakes are catching candlefish and flying back to their nests to feed their young. Flocks of seagulls, kittiwakes and some puffins fly above the whales waiting for a chance to catch the feeder fish. In late August, Puffin young will leave their nests and begin leaving the area.
Transient orcas may be seen hunting other whales or sea mammals, their strong bodies moving deftly through the water to catch their prey.
Heavy with August’s feeding, the Brown bears still fish, but are slowing down. September is an excellent time for berry picking, for both bears and humans.
Most of the puffins will have gone back to sea by mid-September. The winter sea ducks have returned. Bald eagles hunt along shorelines, making prominent nests along the coast. Humpbacks are leaving for winter grounds. The vegetation along the coast is giving over to Fall colors, with reds, yellows and browns dominating the landscape.