Back to a spot I enjoyed so much in 2014, Hyder, AK. I got here on Saturday. The salmon had not started running strong so there were few in the creek. Bears had been feeding elsewhere where the pickings were better. I went over to Fish Creek Sunday afternoon and soon after I arrived a black bear sow came through with her two cubs. She didn’t stick around long and the cubs were not easy to capture, they stuck close to the sow when they could and the brusk is very overgrown and thick.
We did see another black bear one morning for just a very few minutes, it seemed rather tentative and didn’t stick around long.
After several days of very brief sightings of black bears (maybe one per day) some of us early birds got to see a brown bear come down the creek. Not as early as some I arrived just in the nick of time. This boar is one I saw 4 years ago and is called Dawg Bear.
There is a small lagoon near the start of the board walk, on the opposite side from Fish Creek. There is a creek feeding through it and beavers have decided the small outlet would be an excellent spot for a dam. The rangers have broken the dams up but the beavers persist.
The really fun thing for me about the lagoon is that there are at least a couple of otter families that frequent it. One time there were 6 or 7 otters including a few pups there. I’ll continue to watch and photograph them.
Another benefit of the dead fish the bears partially eat is that it attracts the mink. Mink are very elusive and fast but one morning we were able to watch a mink drag pieces of a fish into the brush and finally the rest of the carcass.
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My last 5 nights in Denali NP were spent at Teklanika cg, 29 miles into the park. Once at the campground you are not permitted to drive around until you leave. In order to travel I purchased a pass, called a TEK pass, that enabled me to hop on any shuttle and go as far as the Eielson Visitor Center which is a 6 hour round trip. That was as long as I wanted to be away from the dogs and provided many photography opportunities. The bus drivers would stop for wildlife viewing whenever possible so it worked out very nicely.
I got to see many grizzly bears, some were simply too far away that while I took photos I won’t upload them. Others are closer to the road and were great subjects.
I saw this bear 3 of the 4 trips out, and sometimes 2 times a day, on the way out and on the way back.
I did include a couple of images of a sow and her 2 cubs laying out in the grass enjoying a sun bath simply because they looked so utterly relaxed.
For the most part I saw sows with 2 cubs, some were born this past winter, others appeared to be 2 or 3 years old. This was the only single bear I got some good images of and it was fun to watch.
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The ravens entertained us regularly, weren’t shy and were very vocal. They’re quite the characters!
Jaws was in action nearly every day and is fattening up nicely (when I first started going to the viewing platform he was rather boney). I’ve noticed that the 2 sows seem to have shed their last year’s coats and both are nice and dark while the 2 boars still have lots of their old coat. Now we can see some of the dark hair and in time they will be dark and handsome. Too late for me, though.
Last Thursday evening while I was at the end of the platform (everyone else had moved the other direction to follow a bear) a little bat flew around and hovered nearby. It didn’t seem put off by me and another lady so when he landed on the railing to enjoy a bug I grabbed my camera. It was quite accommodating and it made for a rare treat to photograph this critter.
I left Hyder at lunchtime today (Aug. 15) and am in Smithers, on my way to Jasper. I met so many wonderfully friendly people while spending the hours at the bear viewing platform. Many have been going there for years, and others were newbies like me. Watching the bears was one common interest, with others the interest in wildlife photography gave us an added bond. Don’t know when if ever I’ll get back there but it sure would be fun!
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The last few days have been great for viewing the bears, but it is getting wetter and wetter, raining more often and for longer periods. Fortunately the bears don’t mind and we humans cope because the rewards are worth it.
Thursday I left the creek around mid day for a couple of hours, so naturally a wolf decided to come along and see what scraps were available. Friday at the creek we saw no bears from early morning through about 2 pm. I had to leave then and returned about 4 pm. The wolf returned about 4:30! After that a couple of the grizzlies returned and for a while there the sow was in one area and one of the boars in another. We could see both,but not without turning a bit to do it, and were waiting to see if she spotted him. We were hoping she would stand up, but she never realized he was there. Oh well, these are wild critters and totally unpredictable!
It’s really raining here this morning so I decided to drive to the little local library to make use of their faster wifi to get some images uploaded to my website, catch up on email and this blog. While I’m here I may even check the weather report.
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