Grizzly bears are not the only fishers in the area of Grizzly Bear Lodge that have their own style of fishing. Eagles are often seen picking fish off the surface of the water as we travel up Knight Inlet to the grizzly bears or to Johnstone Strait to view the whales. However in most cases they are grabbing herring or small fish not necessarily a salmon the size that the eagle in the photo has caught. A fish this size often means a swim to shore by the eagle. Yes eagles do swim but not by choice. It normally occurs when the salmon caught is too big to lift out of the water and they use their wings to swim to shore. If they are observed from a reasonable distance they will swim with the fish in their claws however if approached to close I have seen them release the catch and fly away. This is a rare photo and should not be expected on a daily basis even though there are many opportunities for eagle pictures on each tour from the lodge.
The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.Visit our Blog