At the lodge our style of bear viewing changes with the season. In the spring and early summer we spend a lot of time in the river estuaries as the bears feed on sedge grasses. As the salmon arrive, we spend more time up the river systems viewing the bears as they try and fill up on the high protein salmon. One food source that is available to the bears throughout our season is the intertidal. When the tide is out there is a huge amount of protein available in the areas of the coastline between the high and low tide line. Some favourites include shore crab, mussels, barnacles as well as eels and other small fish. Both Black and Grizzly Bears utilise this important food source. Whenever we are travelling (particularly when the tide is out) it always is a good idea to keep a keen eye on the shoreline.
The relationship between Ravens and Bears is an interesting one. Both crows and ravens are commonly seen near Black and Grizzly Bears. The reason for this is simple, easy food. Often bears will leave scraps of fish, mussels or other food sources. It some cases we may see ravens on a river, but no bear. Often with a little patience the bear will emerge behind a log or rock. The birds tend to sit above the bear whenever possible, swooping in when they have an opportunity for easy food. Much like the gulls in the strait indicating where marine life may be, the ravens can help us find the bears.
People often ask us if bears swim? It is fairly common to see both Black and Grizzly Bears swimming. Sometimes this may be a means of crossing a river, jumping from one island to another, or in this case going around a steep bluff. Due to our coast line and abundance of islands basically all of the larger mammals that we view do swim. Deer, wolves, and even cougars will swim from island to island in search of food, although many of these sightings are extremely rare. Bears are extremely buoyant so they have no problem paddling across relatively large distances, although they do tend to favour shorter crossings when possible.
Early June, so less than six months old and we find two black bear cubs while on the trip up Knight Inlet to view grizzly bears. Although we go on a specialized black bear trip on your first evening in the lodge we frequently see black bears while on the grizzly bear and whales watching tours as well as the trip to Trapper Rick’s.
Bald eagles are only achieve their white headed between three and five years and prior to that they are able to sit in trees unnoticed. When soaring high an immature eagle is a little more noticeable. Still majestic with their wing span but something is missing.
Grizzly bears mate in the spring and their babies are born from January to March so it can live in its den for about four months during the coldest weather. The grizzly bear cubs of Knight Inlet first appear on the shore with their mothers in late May. This meas the cubs are three to four months old and will remain with their mothers or two or three years. Although still nursing this cub copies mother and will start on solid food.
This is a grizzly bear sitting in a pool in the Glendale river in Knight Inlet. The fish that you see are returning Pink Salmon. On a good return the river is black with fish. This is important, because our coastal Grizzly Bears rely on the protein rich salmon to put on enough wait to make it through their winter hibernation.
.. went back to fishing and ignored us completely. It never ceases to amaze me how the grizzlies of the Glendale River have accepted our presence and as long as we remain stationary we become part of the background and are not a threat. That does not mean that the pepper spray was not ready to be used. I talked to the guests and the said that they did not feel threatened and that the bear seem calm and deliberate in it’s actions.
Suddenly she stops and looks toward us. The problem is that she is less than 25 meters (yards) from where I am sitting on the bow of the skiff and I had stood up and started to move the skiff backward to give her more room to fish. Wrong move on my part. She froze looking at me so I sat down and she…
…they suddenly turned and ran directly toward us. As the picture shows they did manage to flick a salmon on to the bar and proceeded to fight over it’s possession. One of the two year old cubs came up winner so mother continues to fish…