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.
Harbour Seals are a very common sight on all of our trips. We often take them for granted, because there are so many of them in the area. They feed on various fish, but herring and salmon make up the bulk of their diet. Thanks to Felix for the great picture
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.”
We often see mother and cubs while viewing the Grizzly Bears. Grizzly Bears are slow reproducers, but the mothers take excellent care of their young. These bears are near the river and the mother is doing a good survey for potential dangers before venturing out with her cub.
We are very lucky to be located in the Great Bear Rainforest, where the wildlife is plentiful and the scenery is spectacular. Often we take for granted the little things, which are also beautiful, such as this small falls entering Knight Inlet. The larger waterfall in the back is Rainbow Falls, which is just past Glendale Cove where we do most of our Grizzly Bear watching.
If you read the posting from Jan 1 about the location of the viewing stands when we leave the finger viewing stand we are required to back the SUV past the upper end of the spawning channel. We tend to do this quite slowly to enable some interesting pictures. This picture is of a first year grizzly bear cub sitting mid-channel waiting for a salmon actually waiting for it’s mother to bring it a salmon as first year cubs do not catch many salmon. This area would provide for many more great photos if it were not for the trees along the bank but these are necessary to provide shade so the water does not become too hot. If the water heats up it tends to hold less oxygen and salmon will suffocate. This happened this August as the temperature rose the water intake from Tom Blown Lake was not regulated correctly and there was insufficient fresh water into the spawning channel and hundreds of salmon died.