The cubs are up and hungry but it is sedge grass for lunch. Sedge grass stalks are spiky, wide and stiff but the sedge grass is up to 25% protein, and this is the reason why grizzly bears prefer eating it to other grasses. In the spring a grizzly bears diets consist of approximately 70% of sedge grass to replenish their lack of proteins during hibernation. Diets shift with the seasons, as summer approaches the berries start to replace the sedge grass and fall brings the salmon into the Glendale River.
Late July and it has been a warmer than normal few days and because of this the rocks have retained the sun’s heat and make for a warm bed. We found these three grizzly bear cubs along the side of Knight Inlet’s Glendale Bay enjoying a morning nap while their mother enjoyed some down time to graze on the sedge grass. See tomorrows post….
Killer whales (orcas) have a dorsal fin that is distinctive in that it is larger than most species relative to their body size. In fact, it is one of the characteristics used to identify individuals. Individual whales have slight variations in their fin shape. They also have distinctive nicks and scratches that help differentiate one individual from another. Additionally, killer whales have a whitish-grey patch of pigmentation on their back, just behind the dorsal fin called a saddle patch. Just like a human fingerprint, each saddle patch is different and these differences help tell the whales apart. The combination of the saddle patch and dorsal fin are used to identify whales on the water or in photographs.
I always enjoy a sunrise from Grizzly Bear Lodge’s dock. As a guide I am up before 6:30 to make sure the coffee is ready when guests are called and my boat is loaded for the day. Loaded with the picnic lunch, ice in the drinks cooler and enough gas tanks for a full day on the water. Full day being away from the lodge by 7:30 or 8:00 depending on the time of the season and back around 4:00 with a bathroom stop somewhere in between.
I have always thought that this photo from Gary Wilson from Australia is a bit of a classic. It shows the amount of activity we have in a days whale watching. In this case a humpback whale coming up for a breath in front of the Steller sea lion haul-out. Most whale watching trips include black bears, seals, sea lions, harbour porpoise, dall’s porpoise, pacific white-sided dolphins, killer whales, humpback whales, bald eagles and a variety of sea birds / ducks.
Beside not being the clearest photo it is interesting because it captures the meting of a mother grizzly with three cubs and a sub-adult male grizzly bear.
Coming from opposite directions it was the young male that was most surprised as the wind was at it’s back and he was not able to smell the mother. The mother had picked up on the males scent earlier and was not concerned. It was the male that retreated to the upper beach and walk around the family before moving along the beach. Most grizzlies go out of their way to avoid a mother with cubs.
The interesting aspect of this photo is that it was caught in a photo. A breaching humpback whale is reasonably common but catching it on film is not. Humpback activities such as tail lobbing (slapping), pectoral fin slapping, and lunge feeding are easier to photograph as they are repeated and therefore predictable. A breach is without warning and seldom repeated.
The tide is rising and the Steller sea lions are being forced into the water. The dominant males have the high ground and will remain there until they also go swimming. We have sea lions in our area all year but the numbers increase dramatically in the spring and fall when they migrate between California and Alaska.
Guest normally arrive at the Lodge from Campbell River between three and four o’clock. Once rooms have been sorted out, guests settled in, snacks on the front deck and Angus’s talk about the lodge and your visit’s itinerary it is time for the first tour. The first evening is a trip in the local waters looking for black bears, bald eagles, seals and even on occasion a grizzly bear. The trip is an hour plus depending on what is found and is used to familiarize you with the boats and guides.
Coming into the dock at Grizzly Bear Lodge. Notice the cabin over in the far right corner if you manage to book that you always have an interesting view from your window. The main lodge in the background with boats at the dock. On the right the “cooks” boat she has a half mile commute to the lodge from her float-house. Beside it, the boat with the dark top, is one of the tour boats and in the back left the important camp boat. Important to you because it is used to pull the prawn and crab traps and they are a favourite at the Lodge. We are missing our larger boat that normally does the grizzly bear tours.