Sea of Okhotsk, Japan

The images in this gallery were taken from an Eco-tourist boat from the seaport of Rasu, Japan. Rasu is located on the far northeastern peninsula of Hokkaido; Japan’s northernmost island. Situated not much farther north geographically than Eugene, Oregon; Rasu’s winter climate can be severe. Air masses sweeping south from the Arctic and the Siberian landmass source regions are responsible for the cold winters. During the winter; sea pack ice, wind-driven from the Sea of Okhotsk, is common in this area. The pack-ice provides a unique habitat to observe and photograph large sea eagles feeding. The Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) and the White-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) are the main focus of this gallery. Steller’s sea eagle, with its 2.5 meters (approximately 8 foot) wingspan, is the world’s second-largest eagle. The species is endangered with an estimated remaining population of about 5000 individuals. Other common names for Steller’s sea eagle are Pacific eagle and White-shouldered eagle. The Japanese refer to this bird as “0-washi”.  The White-tailed sea eagle, also referred to as Sea eagle and Erne is the world’s fourth-largest eagle and is more abundant but is also suffering habitat loss.

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