Eagles are a common sighting around the lodge and on our tours. They eat a variety of foods, but are often sighted. looking for schooling fish such as herring and will frequent the salmon rivers when the fish are running. They mate for life an it is not unusual to see a mating pair. They are hard to distinguish on their own, but when side by side the female is slightly larger and the white feathers on her head tend to come down a bit lower on the neck. With their 5-6′ wingspan they are always impressive when they come down to the water in search of food.
Until the salmon arrive in the river in late August the grizzly bears of Knight Inlet find their food on the beach. This bear was scrapping mussels and barnacles from the rocks to obtain the protein necessary to keep it alive. These are eaten “in the shell” and with our motor turned off we can hear the crunching as well as the scrapping of claws. This look was “you are in my comfort zone” so we slowly backed off a few meters.
Once the salmon have arrived and after August 24th (per Government Regulations) we move up the Glendale River to the viewing platform to view grizzlies waiting for salmon. These two grizzlies (look carefully) were very good at catching salmon as one caught and moved off it eat its fish the other waited for a salmon to come within reach.
Grizzly bear cubs are born in the den in January or Febuary. The cubs will weigh approximately 500 grams ( 1 ½ pound) at birth, and arrive into the world blind, hairless, and toothless. The cubs will grow to weigh 3-4 kg (7-9 lbs.) prior to emerging from the den in spring. This photo was taken in early September so these first year cubs are six or seven months old. As you can see from the photo that this mother grizzly is still nursing. The milk from a grizzly is rich in fat, approximately 30% compared to a cow at 3% so these cubs will weight 27 – 45 kg. (60 to 100 pounds). Also the photo shows the difference in size in the three cubs the one being much larger. This is common and shows which of these cubs has a better chance of survival.
Two incredible photographs the first being a humpback whale lunging through a ball of herring directly toward the boat. A perfect photo showing the herring in the spray, the baleen along the lower jaw and the growth on the pectoral fins. The second shows a female orca coming out of the water on its back with a calf on its belly. A unique photo that I have never seen duplicated or heard of from another guide in the area. Comparing the two photos one would say the humpback is much clearer, more close-up and would win as a photo until you were told that the orca photo was taken twenty of more years ago on 35mm film. So no second chance or multiple digital shots just a once in a lifetime photo.
This grizzly bear had just spent some time rolling in the grass at the backside of the first viewing stand on Knight Inlet’s Glendale River. If you take time to look at January 1, 20014 post it shows a section of Google map showing the location of the viewing stand on the rivers spawning channel. This bear has just left from beneath the stand and is strolling down the finger of land that separates the natural river from the holding pool where the salmon wait before entering the spawning area. The grizzly bears in our viewing area have come to tolerate or presence and ignore the click of cameras. As long as there are no flashes or sudden loud noises all in fine. Tim O’Neil of Great Britain provided this photo.
Photo time 8/25/2015 11:11 First day on the grizzly bear viewing stands is August 25 and as yesterdays post shows the first photos are of the salmon because the grizzly bears are not on the river. But 13 minutes later the grizzlies arrive and I remember that it was a good day because Glen reported eighteen grizzlies on his first day at the stands.
Always trying for an interesting photo while on a wildlife tour and this time it worked. The whale’s tail gets the attention but I wanted to focus on the sooty shearwater. The heading of an article I found reads “Longest Animal Migration Measured, Bird Flies 40,000 Miles a Year”. Sooty shearwaters migrate nearly 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) a year, flying from New Zealand to the North Pacific Ocean every summer in search of food. The birds leave New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter—summer in the Northern Hemisphere—and take advantage of prevailing winds along different portions of their migration route. Our area is a resting point and feeding area as they return home in September.”