LeConte Glacier 2011, Pt. 2

Yesterday’s post included the grand Ice Kingdom we experienced as we pulled into LeConte Bay, heading towards LeConte Glacier. Today’s post includes some photos of the area’s most popular residents, the Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina). It is very common to find large numbers of harbor seals swimming and lying about the icebergs at the foot of a glacier. They do this mostly for protection from their main predator, Orcas (“Killer Whales”). With a dense icefield, the Orcas have a hard time navigating all the icebergs and it is very difficult for them to successfully hunt in these conditions. So the harbor seals will congregate near glaciers when it is time to give birth to the pups, and will stay in the area until the pups are older and stronger, and more able to take care of themselves.

Here are a few images of the harbor seals of LeConte Glacier:

 

Harbor Seals taking refuge on icebergs

 

 

A Harbor Seal family lying on iceberg in LeConte Bay, Alaska

 

Closeup of a Harbor Seal lying on an iceberg

 

 

And as we got closer to the glacier, you could see lots of harbor seals lying at the foot of the glacier:

 

Harbor Seals lying on the ice, in front of LeConte Glacier

 

 

Tomorrow, in the conclusion of the LeConte Glacier posts, I will share some images of another mammal we saw along the bay, as well as a few scenics I photographed as we left this magical place.

 

 

 

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