Wildlife on the Juneau Icefield
Believe it or not, but there is wildlife on the Juneau Icefield -- not much, as you can see from this limited set of photos, but it's there. Perhaps the most seemingly out-of-place animal that frequents the nunataks are hummingbirds. Unfortunately, I've never been able to get a good photo of them.


Mountain goats near the Ptarmigan Glacier

Most of the wildlife we encounter is seen along the periphery of the Juneau Icefield. This small band of mountain goats was grazing high on a slope above a tarn lake. They soon crossed over the ridge and headed down into the Ptarmigan Glacier valley on the other side.


A very nice mountain goat near the summit of a nunatak

During a survey project to establish a new benchmark on the top of a nearby nunatak, we happened upon this mountain goat just below the summit.


A duck on ice!

Here's a duck that seems to like ice as much as I do. This lake formed in a depression on the surface of a glacier. Apparently, this duck didn't seem to mind that the water was "ice" cold!


One that didn't make it across the Icefield

It's not uncommon to find the remains of birds that became lost on the Icefield, such as this former seagull. We've even found a dead lynx in the middle of the Taku Glacier, miles from the nearest patch of vegetation.



It's easy enough to understand how a bird could be found on a glacier, but how about this little fish? How in the world would a fish get on a glacier in the middle of nowhere, miles from any stream, lake, or ocean? We found this fish on the Bucher Glacier, 14 kilometers upglacier from the terminus. Actually, it's pretty simple. A passing bird, probably a bald eagle or a seagull, dropped the fish as it flew over. For an idea of size, the lens cap is 77mm in diameter.


A nice patch of lupine

It's not all ice, snow, and rock on the Icefield. Isolated, south-facing sheltered areas on some nunataks can host quite lush colonies of plants, such as these lupine, sedges, and heather. Hummingbirds are often seen in areas such as this.


Definitely an exotic species!

...and finally, every collection of wildlife photos needs the requisite shot of the wide-ranging flamingo!