Bears will patrol the shallows of a river looking for exhausted salmon. This bear found one but the salmon appears to have more life in it still!
Many times they will wade into the stream. Like a dog flushing a Grouse,they hope to spook a salmon!
If they hear water splashing,they stop to see If It’s a salmon?
Bears will walk along the river bank looking for dead salmon. They are much easier to catch than the live ones. They have favorite spots they like to check for dead salmon.
I promised Annette that the first cub I saw this year I would name after her. So her you are Annette. I wanted to get closer but there was 200 meters of mudflats between the bears and me.
The cub was trying to overturn a large rock to get at tasty crabs!
I found two bears tonight. This was the first one. A older male. Unfortunately he was a 100 meters feet from shore. Tide was coming up, no chance of getting stuck,so I tied the boat up and walked around. The trick to doing this is to hold the camera right up to your face whiling look down (and at the bear) so you don’t step on anything that would make noise! You can only move when the bear isn’t looking at you. If it see’s you moving it might get spooked and take off?
Then as your approaching If he looks at you, stop and shoot. I watch for tell tale signs that the bear is getting nervous……the ears. This guy seemed fine with me hanging around but had a grumpy look on his face. See how the forehead muscles are drawn tight. First sign of a bear feeling uncomfortable. I got a few shots of grumpy and left.
This male bear was sporting battle scars. This must of happened last year? Once wounded the hair will not grow making the scars more evident.
When bears fight they always go for the eyes. He was lucky! Maybe the other guy was worse?
I paddled upstream today looking for bears. I found one almost immediately! It was walking upstream on the left and so I paddled upstream on the right. We had rain last night so the stream was flowing faster than normal. We kept pace with each other but when I took out the camera to take this shot I quickly headed back downstream.
The vast majority of salmon a bear will eat are dead. The salmon spawn,die and float downstream. Bears are part of the clean up crew. They walk along the streams edge looking for dead salmon. If you don’t have to work for your dinner why bother?
This bear came across two salmon! It grabbed the first one and promptly dropped it. It than found a second one and walked off into the forest to enjoy but I was surprised to see It come back out 15 seconds later! When I see a bear being “fussy” that means It’s tummy is full! I bet the only fish it would keep would be a fresh squirming one!
I saw three bears on this trip but I still think there should be more! I saw 4 large dead salmon laying very close to the streams bank. Seeing those fresh salmon told me no bears have been around! If just one bear had walked by It would of grabbed one.
This bear was full, most likely because very few bears are around leaving plenty of salmon to eat! Enough salmon that It can afford to be fussy!
I camped out at my favorite river so as to get shots of the bears grabbing salmon! Lots of salmon in the river but zero bears? I was there for three days and saw no bears!
I talked to a friend of mine who has the unusual job of swimming down many streams around Tofino. He and his wife count salmon to get a idea on how healthy the run is. He told me that in 17 swims over the last month he and his wife saw only one bear!
No hunter or hunters could possibly wipe out that many bears all over the place. Maybe in one stream but still that’s stretching it! I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on? I’m hoping he and I are both wrong and the bears will show up on mass soon!
This yearling was swimming when I came upon it. It climbed out of the water,shook vigorously like a dog and stared at me.
Bears are very good swimmers. They swim from island to island foraging. Actually just about every animal out there is a great swimmer and island hops as well.
When Bears get mange,they often times go into the ocean. The salt helps kill the parasites.
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.
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.
This bear found a branch full of barnacles and mussels! I think he needs a bib.
I came across 4 bears tonight but only got shots of two. Bears never seem to do what I want them to do……it’s unbearable!
This bear knows me from last year. It hardly looked at me and was more concerned with eating a crab dinner!
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.
My first bear of the year. It was a male about 4 or 5 years? He was interested in eating some tasty barnacles!
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.
Back in September I placed a trail camera up river to capture the goings on of the locals.
This is my first time using these cameras in this manner. I set it up and left it for several months. I came back twice to swap out the cards. The first time I left the camera for a month. After swapping the card and getting home I found the 32 Gig card had filled up in only 6 days,and than It sat there for 3 more weeks doing nothing! Clearly I needed to cut down on the memory being filled so quickly! The camera turns on when anything walks in front of it. I found a lot of the memory was being filled up by bears searching for salmon at night. I couldn’t tell what was going on but I could see their beady eyes shining back at me.
I’ve always been curious If bears hunted for salmon at night? I’ve never been brave enough to paddle upstream to find out myself. Our eyesight isn’t that good in the dark,maybe we could get away with it during a full moon but generally speaking we are blind as bats out in the dark. Bears have a reflective layer coating the back of their eye. Think of a stainless steel bowl. This reflects the light back out.
The eye is made up of two basic units,rods and cones. Cones are used for colour while rods are used for light intensity. Light coming into the eye hits the front of the rod creating a signal. It than hits the back of the eye and the light is reflected back out to the backside of the rod where it is detected a second time. So by having this extra light capacity the animal can see very well in the dark. Many animals have this ability. Our own pets have this reflective coating.
So I decided to cut out all of the night shots to help reduce the storage problem. I also cut the video length from 30 seconds to 15 seconds. I programmed it to come on at 7 am and turn off at 7 pm.
I found this stretched the memory capacity significantly! Here are a few videos for your entertainment.
This shows a bear searching for salmon. He cannot see but we can that there are zero salmon in that pool. Keep searching buddy!
This video shows a bear that has grabbed a salmon. Once a bear grabs a salmon they usually walk off into the forest right away so another bear won’t see them with the salmon. If another bear does see it with a salmon there is a good chance it would go after that bear. Which usually causes the bear to drop its prize and flee in fright!
Bullying is alive and well in Nature!
This shows a bear walking through the lower pool in search of its breakfast.
You can see a eagles failed attempt at grabbing its own breakfast.
This is the last video I shot. It shows me arriving to grab the camera. Season was done!
I do not know this bear and obviously she does not know me. She folded her ears back and sniffed at the air. She wanted to know what I was? Bears are fearful at this stage. I gently talked to her which seemed to calm her down.
Barnacles grow on downed trees that submerge at high tide. They kind of grow like rock candy and the bears consider them a very tasty delicacy!
I’m pretty sure this is a 3 year old Piglet all grown up. Not only does she have the identical chest mark but she also recognized me! She didn’t run away and allowed me to get within 15 feet. I always talked to her. I think the voice helped her remember.
She is doing really well and It was so good to see my little friend all grown up! One thing I did notice is that she had been swiped by another bear in a fight. Bears always swipe at the eyes. She has a small scar under her right eye.
Max has always been a very relaxed Bruin. Enough so that he allowed me to get out of my boat and walk around with him.
This is Fortune Channel looking northward. Tide was coming in. I would never do this if the tide was dropping.
Normally I wouldn’t take a shot like this but I really like the name!
Today is National Wildlife day! So in that spirit I am posting a shot of “Mini” with her take out snack!
The salmon are beginning to arrive to their natal streams and the bears are lining up to buy tickets to the dance!
I took some friends out on a boat tour today. We had to leave much earlier than normal. I like to leave three hours before sunset as a standard rule,the light is far warmer near sunset.
This is Peggy and Piglet foraging along the shore. Piglet got spooked and ran away at one point. Which in turn made Peggy nervous! She stood up to look around for the danger!
After being satisfied that there was no danger,they both settled down.
Peggy has a new cub this year,so I’m calling it Piglet III. Its her third cub. I do not know the sex but suspect another female? She was being shy. She was using Peggy’s body as a shield. She eventually came out from behind mum and than she promptly walked into the forest without saying so much as a polite goodbye. Such a short debut!
Such a little darling!
I was so happy to find my friend Peggy! I haven’t seen her in what seems oh so long! She had a new cub this year as well! Of course it was shy,but Peggy just kept eating away merrily!
Here are some locals.
He rubbed his tummy on the log.
I went looking for bears tonight,first time this year. I went up the eastern shore of Fortune Channel for several miles not seeing any. I made my return run and just as I was about to leave Fortune I did spot one but it was in the shade. Wouldn’t you know it! You know how I hate black bears in shade!
Having said that……10% of something is better than 100% of nothing! It looks like a matured female.
I love the eyes on this bear! She has such innocent eyes! She recognizes me! I do think she likes me.
I usually stand in the river with my canoes bow line tied around my waist.Being in the middle of the stream not only puts me off of the bears patrolling routes but also frees up my hands for the camera.
I saw Teddy walking towards me from upstream.She walked to just opposite me & simply waited there all the while staring at me with such a sweet face.I do believe she wants to get closer. For instance, she pretended she saw something in the rear of my canoe. As if she saw a salmon there!
So she waded out into the water to go check.I couldn’t allow her to do that & so told her to stop & she did exactly that.
When I got into my canoe to head back downstream the current was fast.She began to follow me,I did see her face change when she realized she couldn’t keep up. She stopped,turned around & went back upstream.
I bet If I threw her my hat she’d walk away with it! I’ve never had a bear girlfriend before.
She’ll be going to bed soon & I look forward to seeing her again!
Bears will often times put their head under the water to see If there are any dead salmon snagged? This guy came up empty mouthed.