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Southeast Mammals

Whale Tail

In Southeast Alaska and in other coastal areas you've got an excellent chance to see marine mammals. Look for the spouts of whales and porpoises, clouds of mist formed when the animals exhale upon surfacing. They're best seen when wind and waves are calm. Scan the water with the naked eye, looking for a whitish streak just above the water's surface. Once you see spouts, train your binoculars on the area and wait-the animals will generally surface again in the same vicinity. The most commonly seen whales are humpbacks and orcas (killer whales), and the most frequently seen porpoises are harbor and Dall's. Sea lions and harbor seals can often be seen basking on rocky islands near the water's edge. Also look for sea otters frolicking and bobbing in the waves, lying on their backs and grooming their fur.

Along the shore in Southeast, look for Sitka blacktail deer grazing near the water's edge, and scan the high peaks for mountain goats, often seen as white dots near the craggy ridgeline. Also along the beaches, watch for brown and black bears prowling near the tide line in their constant search for anything edible.


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