Creating unforgettable and unique photography workshops experiences during a Hokkaido Photo Workshop is always my primary concern, but just as the First Nation’s People of Japan the Ainu strive to live in harmony with their natural surroundings, my team and I act and build our understanding regarding the sustainability and conservation efforts that are being made to protect all species that inhabit Japan. The Steller’s Sea Eagle is one such species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the Steller’s Sea Eagles as ‘vulnerable.’ The eagles acclimated to sub-arctic temperatures, so climate change is having an impact on their access to their preferred prey. Warmer waters mean less fish and different eating habits. However, some positive impacts are being made in Japan, and other parts of Asia and Europe where the Steller’s Sea Eagle migrate and roost; they are a protected species, so when joining a Blain Harasymiw Hokkaido Photo Tour, it’s possible to see a congress on Sea Eagles on the pack ice enjoying life as they have for thousands of years. Japan is latitudinally, over 3000 kilometers and located in the Northwest Pacific Ocean; climates range from sub-arctic in the north to subtropical in the south. Two distinct ecological lines divide Japan’s natural indigenous plant and animal life - “The Blakiston’s Line” and the “Watase’s Line.” Due to this uniquely rare ecological condition, Japan is abundantly rich in avifauna, and it is among the top spots on our planet for birding photography, and the best opportunity for an up-close and personal encounter with the Steller’s Sea Eagle.
With me as your birding photography workshop leader, you know from my 30 plus years of experience in the field, and with 20 plus years spent leading Hokkaido birding photo workshops, you will take the best birding pictures of several vulnerable species such as The Red-Crowned Cranes, The Steller's Sea Eagles, and the Blakiston's Fish Owl.
The photo's in this article was taken on the deck of our vessel deep in the pack-ice; there are often two or more vessels in the same flow of pack-ice. The group I was leading had the birding experience of a lifetime photographing The Steller's Sea Eagles and White-Tailed Eagles. Camera Gear I used Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8 DG OS HSM.