In 2016 we enjoyed another great season with excellent Grizzly Bear and whale sightings in both Knight Inlet and Johnstone Strait.
Bear viewing was great right from the start of our season in late May until the end in mid October. In the spring we were able to view the bears feeding on sedge grass in the estuary and various marine creatures such as shore crab, mussels and barnacles. “Bella” is a long time resident female grizzly bear in the Glendale Cove area of Knight Inlet. Last year we saw several male bears showing interest and low and behold this spring she emerged with three young cubs of the year. Lenore was also out with her yearling cub and many other bears greeted us on the shores and lower river this spring. The salmon were very early this year with pink salmon entering the river by mid July. Some of our July guests were lucky to view bears feeding on salmon ahead of schedule. We began viewing the bears from the viewing stands on August 25 and there were an incredible number of bears feeding on the pink salmon. The viewing platforms remained strong right through the season. We had more rain this season then we have had in a few years. For the salmon this is a good thing as the river was in great shape for the spawning fish which should make for good salmon returns in the future.
On the Kakweiken River trip we had some great Grizzly Bear viewing, particularly from late July through August. The salmon were early here as well and so were the bears. Pink numbers were so-so, but there was a huge return of Chum Salmon which are much bigger. Emily was spotted often with her new cub as well as Burtrum, Andy, Cathy, Roy and a few others. There was some excellent black bear viewing on the way to the river when the tide was out and frequent humpback whale sightings too.
It was also a great year for marine mammals in both Knight Inlet and Johnstone Strait. The resident (fish eating) Orca showed up in early July and were around until early October feasting on salmon. The transient (mammal feeding orca) were around quite a bit this year and we were lucky to see them hunting both harbour seals and white sided dolphins on several occasions . The Humpback Whales were amazing once again and were very abundant throughout the entire season. As usual there were large numbers of humpbacks in Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound. Last year saw a huge increase of humpbacks in Knight Inlet and this year there were even more. One of the nice things this season was to see a lot of whales returning to the Inlet with new calves. These young whales will likely return to these same waters year after year. On several occasions we hade Humpbacks right in front of the lodge. In addition White Sided Dolphins, Stellar Sea Lions and Porpoise were common sightings. For the avid birders there was plenty to view as well. Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Storm Petrels, Surf Scoters, and Osprey to name a few.
Our guides and cook (Glen, Cam and Madeline) will all be back again in 2017. After many years of service George will be retiring to spend time with his grandkids. We thank him for his many years of guiding and memorable experiences. Joe will also be returning, helping out behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly. We look forward to another great season and hopefully we will see many of you in the coming season. Angus.
Greetings from Knight Inlet BC Whale and Grizzly Bear Watching country!
As our season moves into July we continue to enjoy great wildlife sightings. The Grizzly Bear viewing in Knight Inlet has been very good since we began sighting them in May. There are lots of mother bears with both first and second year cubs feeding on beach and sedge grass in the river estuary. We have also been viewing many sub-adult (teen-age) bears and some mature males. June and early July is mating season for the bears, so many of our guests have been lucky to view some interesting interactions as the big males come down in search of a mate. A big bonus this year has been the increased number of Grizzly Bears sighted outside of the normal river estuary areas. This is likely an indication that the local populations are growing causing some of the bears to move out in search of new feeding grounds. This is good news for both us and the bears. During the early summer season the bears are still feeding heavily on the sedge grasses which are abundant in the estuary areas. At low tide they also head to the rocky beaches were they feed on shore crabs, eels, mussels and barnacles. With the summer sun comes a wide selection of berries which also make up a large portion of their diet. Currently the salmon berries are out in full swing, with huckleberries and elderberries also beginning to ripen. The black bears are enjoying a similar meal plan, although they usually spend less time on the sedge grass as the Grizzly Bears consider that their territory.
On the whale front the big news this week is the return of the resident Orca to Johnstone Strait. The A-30 group was first spotted on the sixth of July and they have been seen several times since. With the salmon migration in full swing I expect that more of these fish eating Orca will begin arriving in the coming days. Although the resident Orca are known to eat all species of salmon the Chinook Salmon is their preferred prey and makes up the majority of their diet at this time of year. Humpback Whales have been abundant throughout our season. Many of the regular whales to our area have been identified as well as a lot of first time visitors. The numbers of Humpback Whales feeding in our area will likely continue to rise throughout the summer. Transient Orca (mammal feeding) have been spotted on a number of occasions both in Johnstone Strait and Knight Inlet. These whales are in our area year-round, but often travel quietly in smaller groups as they are always on the look-out for an unsuspecting seal or dolphin. The pacific white side dolphins are also around and have treated our guests to some wonderful acrobatic shows. Dall’s harbour porpoise, seals, sea lions, eagles and a variety of marine birds have been rounding out our marine tours this season.
So far 2013 looks like another great year for wildlife viewing. The weather has also been co-operating so we are hoping for more of the same to continue into the summer months. By the end of July we should start to see the first salmon entering our local rivers. By August the bears should start to feed on these fish as they struggle up their spawning rivers. More resident Orca should also be entering our waters with the increased number of salmon. For those of you returning to us for a repeat visit the staff will remain that same in 2013. Glen, George and I will be doing the bulk of the guiding. Madeline will be in the kitchen and Clint will be helping out and care taking the lodge over the winter. I look forward to seeing many of you this season.
Angus and Krystle
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