I found two bears tonight. I recognized this bear as one I’ve called “Big Bart”. He’s been around for a few years. He’s shy but tolerates me.
Because of there being no Bear Watching boats zipping around, the bears appear to be more skittish.
I think they get accustomed to boats being around when the bear watching boats are out. Because of this virus the boats haven’t been out this year,so the bears have gotten use to silence making it more difficult for me to get close. Fortunately many of them already know me!
Both of the bears tonight were males. This guy is younger. Not sure but maybe 3 to 4 years? We do not know each other. So he was keeping a eye on me. When I meet bears like this I try not to move. Movement can spook them.
Here a few cute cubs to make you smile and go awwwwwwwwwwww!
I’ve taken pictures of hundreds of bears over 40 years! Each one is a unique memory and picture! When I’m close and I stare into their eyes and theirs into mine,I feel there is more there than we are aware of.
In this video you’ll see “Fran” standing on top of a Sea Lion carcass. Fran is a teenager about to become an adult. Eagles get their adult colours at 5 years of age. You can still see some streaking in her head feathers.Dead give away she’s around four and a half years old? She’s also the offspring of Frank and Frieda. So she is tolerated. If she was a stranger she would most likely be chased away. If she kept coming back,she probably would be attacked! But because she’s part of the family she has a life long membership to come back any time! Fran see’s her father coming over and backs off. Frank is telling her to EAT and go.
Turn the sound up and listen to the sounds Fran makes.
In this video it shows a immature eagle eating. Its early, (5:38am) so I guess its breakfast. This male eagle looks around 3 to 4 years. Another Immature comes in to attack! I recognize this eagle. Its one I’ve called “Ruffles”. I call him that because of the ruffled feathers on his back. He’s a bully. I’ve seen him do false charges at the Ravens.
In this video it shows Ruffles just a few minutes after attacking the other Immature eagle. I think the other eagle is one I’ve called “Rusty” but am not sure? There are half a dozen Immatures feasting on the carcass. Ruffles takes exception to Rusty(?) hanging around waiting for a bite…..so he chases him off!
I’m not that familiar with Frank and Frieda to be honest. What I do know is If it was Frank or Frieda they wouldn’t walk slowly up to the carcass. This male eagle is taking his time,so that tells me he’s not Frank. I suspect this male is poaching,so he’s very alert!
There is one thing I found odd with this video? This eagle did not trip the cameras motion sensor. The camera began shooting way before this eagle arrived. So what tripped the sensor?
As some of you already know, I have been documenting the feeding behaviour of eagles on a dead Sea Lion out on Chestermans beach (Frank island). The Sea Lion is a young female Stellar Sea Lion and she was pregnant.
To help them to get at the meat I cut the carcass open. Later when I swapped the card I saw the remains of a unborn pup inside her. I could see whiskers and wondered what it was? I looked closer and realized it was the nose of the pup. Poor thing never had a chance. I still do not know why this Lion died? I just hope it was from natural causes.
I set up a trail camera station. It took me a lot of work and about three days of figuring it out,but I think I have it now.
In this video an adult eagle has been feeding too long…..according to another eagle and It was persuaded to MOVE!
After the attack you can hear the attacker scolding the other eagle and than hop over for a bite.
I haven’t been able to get close enough to tell if this bear is a boy or girl? I suspect a female as the fur around the head is large and rounded. She was suspicious of me as I had to beach the boat and walk on land to get closer. Whenever she bent down to get a mouthful of grass,I’d move silently towards her. When she looked up I froze. Bears get nervous If they see movement. She’ll get use to me after a few months.
It was sunny all day,so I thought I’d go out for a evening shoot. The almost full moon was coming up and it was low tide so I knew the bears would be out and about too!
So I headed out into the sunshine! It took me 45 minutes to get up into Fortune Channel where the bears are. I found a bear almost immediately! I got two shots off and the light went bye bye! I looked to the west and saw a huge cloud bank moving in and knew my gorgeous light was history!
If I do not have the light,I do not have the shot. Its as simple as that! So I basically made lemonade.
I was done the evening shoot,so headed back to the dock. I was pleasantly surprised to see a young River Otter chowing down at the dock! The best time to get close up shots is when a animal is eating. They tend to zone out.
Unfortunately the sun had already set so the lighting was poor! I bumped my ISO up to 1600,slowed my shutter down to 1/125 and opened the f-stop wide open and that still wasn’t enough. I hate poor lighting conditions with a excellent subject!
I went for a ride/walk out on Chestermans beach. It was overcast so I didn’t take my camera. As usual, when I don’t bring my camera Mother Nature says something like “what can I do to make Wayne shake his head cursing that he didn’t bring his camera”?
So what do I come across out on Frank island…..a dead adult female Stellar Sea Lion……….with no head! Now I’m not a expert but I think those things usually come with heads. Someone mentioned that they had seen a mother Orca and calf in the area a couple of days ago. Suggesting that the Orca may of bitten the head off. As soon as I heard that I knew that wasn’t true. Any animal whether out in the bush or water would never turn done a gourmet meal! That would be like somebody finding a wallet full of money, throwing the money away but keeping the wallet.
Coincidentally some friends came across the carcass as well. He’s a retired surgeon and his wife is a retired GP. They both examined the wounds and thought that a sharp metal instrument had been used to cut the flesh.
So this Lion must of died and simply floated ashore.Than somebody came along and took the head off for a souvenir? Now this animal looked perfectly fine to me. It wasn’t starving and my Surgeon friend said that he thought it might be pregnant? Well If anyone is going to know that kind of stuff it would be him.
So my revised theory is that it was shot. You must remember that when Harbour Seals and Sea Lions are shot 98% of the time they are shot in the head. Thats because the only thing poking up above the water is their head! A friend suggested It most likely was shot by a commercial fisherman? They are the only ones out there that carry firearms and they also have a hatred for Lions.
When they net Herring and have their nets pursed by the boat the Lions attack on force by the dozens! They leap into the nets to gorge themselves! This pisses off the fisherman. They have “Seal Bombs” they use to frighten them away and do also shoot them. There has been vocal support to cull the Lions on the west coast.
The basic problem here is that we as a species have collectively raped the oceans for hundreds of years! When we weren’t here (that means ALL humans) there was plenty of fish to go around but now many stocks have become depleted! Take the Northern Cod on the East coast. That stock still hasn’t come back after 30 years of moratorium! Here in Tofino the Herring fishery was stopped decades ago! All fished out.
So these poor creatures are being forced to jump into the nets for something to eat. If you could ask one of them they would say something like “We don’t want to go near those animals but they have all the fish”!
We’re like King Midas,except instead of everything turning to gold, everything we touch, dies.
This female didn’t trust me and so walked into the bush. Thats what some do when they first get to know me in the Spring. After a few months they calm down. She had a good coat for just coming out of her winters nap.
This months moon is called a “Pink” moon. The name comes from flowers that bloom early. Its a Super Moon because the orbit brings it closer than normal to Earth. The Moon is the most “Super” (closer) moon of the year. There are three Super moons in 2020 and they are consecutive.
I was so happy to see Juliette! She has one or two eaglets back in the nest. She likes to stretch her wings each day. She also sang a little song for me! Thats her in the top picture on the right watching her Romeo doing a fly by.
The Gray whale migration is on! They are travelling from the warm waters of Mexico and heading to the food rich waters of the Bering Sea! Consider this migration route like a huge highway. When some of them pass Tofino they ramp off and spend the summer here! In the fall time they will get back on that marine highway and head back south where the females will give birth.
A rather large pod of Gray’s has arrived in Tofino. Maybe 12 plus. I first saw them a few days ago.
Our Hospital is located near the water. I was heading home on my bike when I heard singing and drumming. It was a Native man singing and drumming a traditional song to someone he knows sick inside the Hospital. Magically I noticed a pod of Gray whales behind him in the waters spouting! I decided to put my boat in the water to go check them out. Because the whale watching boats have been side lined I knew I would be able to get some great shots….which I did!
Barnacles attache themselves to a Gray whale in the warm waters in Mexico. Once attached they will stay attached for life. (which is about a year for this species of barnacle) They do not harm the whale,but they do make their skin a patchy colouring. They basically use the whale like a taxi,all the while feeding upon plankton. Whales do rub themselves upon sandy beaches (which is what I observed) to rid themselves of barnacles but many are rubbed off when they feed anyways.
A Gray whale will go down to the bottom and turn on its side. It will swallow a mouthful of muddy bottom and filter it with their baleen. Baleen look like a big broom. It stops the food from escaping.
A Gray whale will live between 55 and 70 years. It grows to 40 feet and can weigh in at 40 tons.
This is a Gray whale. There are many very close to Tofino right now. Whales migrate from the warm waters of Mexico to the cold waters of the Bering Sea in the Spring. Far more food up in the colder waters!
This female seemed to like Spy Hopping to check me out!
I love sunsets…..sunrises too but am too lazy to get up that early. Besides,looking to the east here is poor. Too many trees and hills blocking sunrise! Plus the only body of water one could go for a sunrise is Kennedy lake and thats too far away.
I like shooting Chestermans beach (Chesty) at sunset. I found out over the years what works and what doesn’t.
I need the right clouds,tide,lots of rain. The clouds need to be Goldi Loks…not too many (overcast) and not too few. The tide needs to be low around sunset,that way more beach is exposed. It needs to of rained for several days (easy in Tofino) and than break! The rain leaks out onto the beach creating a huge mirror!
Than If your lucky a few surfers will walk past. I do like a subject but in this scenario they are always like chickens teeth.