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Bald Eagles, Sea Otters & Wildlife of Kachemak Bay, Alaska
2022 Trip Report

Trip participants created a “ton” of images on our 2022 Bald Eagles, Sea Otters & Coastal Wildlife of Kachemak Bay, Alaska photo tours. If digital images had the same relative weight as a 36-exposure roll of 35mm slide film in its plastic container, many in our group would have shot 40 pounds of film during our 5 days of shooting. Yes, I am a Baby Boomer and can still remember (fortunately) what it was like to work with film!

The photography on this trip is simply breathtaking—with masses of eagles, sea otters and spectacular maritime mountain scenery—and this trip is clearly one of the most incredible eagle photo shoots in the world. In my mind it is only rivaled by the amazing horde of impressive Steller’s sea eagles and white-tailed eagles that are found in Hokkaido, Japan in the winter.

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There seems to be no current population estimate for the number of bald eagles that gather in the Kachemak Bay environs during the winter. But I can confidently say there are as many as 1000 or more in the area during our tours and often we are working with 30-100 birds (at once) in close range during each day. There is so much to shoot—especially birds in flight—with eagles grabbing fish off the water, sitting in large groups on small rocky islands, or perched on “artistic” driftwood trees and dead snags on the shore.

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For more than 20 years Jean Keene—Alaska’s Eagle Lady—lived in a small travel trailer placed at the campground near the end of the Homer Spit where she daily fed 500 pounds of fish parts to about 300 eagles, or more, during the winter. It was estimated she offered the birds as much as 50,000 pounds of fish during the four-and-a-half-month season. Jean ran the “slime line” at the local fish processing plant on the spit where she could get discarded fish heads and filleted backbones trucked to her nearby campsite. There were so many birds the eagle horde looked like barnyard chickens. It was quite the spectacle!

Jean died in 2009 and this massive bird feeding station ended. Now there is a Homer ordinance that prohibits feeding eagles, crows, ravens, and gulls within the town limits because of the mess they made. But there are still a lot of eagles in the area. Since they can live 20–30 years in the wild, many are still alive from the Eagle Lady days, their memory may be long, and they still get fed by fishermen and photographers far away from town.

You can read an archived blog post I wrote about Jean Keene in 2007 on the “Wayback Machine” at the link below:

See archived article link HERE

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The scene from our hotel room balconies across Kachemak Bay towards the Kenai Range is simply stunning. In the middle of this dazzling panorama is Poot Peak, a pyramidal 2,600-foot summit that I seem to include in almost every landscape shot I make there. Here, it is totally likely you can make incredible landscape panoramas without ever leaving your hotel room!

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After breakfast we headed out in our boat for half of the day’s shoot. The boat is landing craft-style with a cozy warm cabin, stuffed with snacks, to escape from the chilly outside temperature if necessary. After about three hours of intense photography, we return to shore for lunch and a couple of hours break before heading out for another three-hour shoot in the afternoon. It’s an action-packed day!

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I have been to Homer for eagle photography many times over the years. I never get tired of it! My personal definitive bald eagle shot is still to be created—although I can positively report I have quite a few doozies in my files. What holds the attraction for me now is the variety of wildlife to shoot in addition to the eagles. There are hundreds of sea otters in the area, and many are approachable—often with a baby in tow. Harbor seals, Steller’s sea lions, sea ducks, and gulls are easy to find. On virtually every trip something unexpected shows up to keep things interesting. This year, two groups encountered four orcas, another photographed a massive flock of 2000-3000 rock sandpipers huddled on the shore (without disturbing them), a harbor seal approached each group in the harbor for incredible close-ups, and distant mountain goats were seen a few times.

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We do this trip exceedingly well, offering an all-inclusive trip with up-scale waterfront hotel rooms, all meals, five days of boat trips and ground transportation—for little more than what others may charge for the boat, the leader, and nothing much more! We stay at the Land’s End Resort on the Homer Spit where virtually all the winter eagles tour groups stay. According to the hotel management we are the only photo tour company that provides the hotel and meals included as part of the trip. An incredible Alaska wildlife photo adventure (and a good deal) awaits in 2023. Join us for this winter eagle, otter, and wildlife extravaganza!

Upcoming Related Tours

Bald Eagles, Sea Otters & Coastal Wildlife of Kachemak Bay, Alaska

A spectacular wildlife shoot amidst Alaska’s most photogenic settings. Five full days of photography from a chartered boat along the Kenai Peninsula to capture dynamic in-flight and perched eagle images, endearing close-ups of sea otters, and wildlife in rugged winter landscapes.

February 16 - 22, 2025
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