They're back!

27 June 2017
If you were reading here last year or the year before, you'll probably remember how I became hooked on watching brown bears live streaming from Brooks Falls  in Alaska's Katmai National Park. It was fascinating viewing and, I believe, a true privilege to be able to watch wild animals living side by side in their natural habitat so far away.

 I took these two photos this morning.

As with most things we find joy in, bear watching comes in fairly small doses and in October/November the bears start climbing nearby Dumpling Mountain to hibernate over winter. When they make that climb, they're in top condition with enough fat and nutrition to see them through months with no food.

They came back this week and the past couple of days Jamie and I have been catching glimpses of the bears as they return to Brooks Falls. They're not there all the time but soon they will be. The bears are drawn to the falls by hundreds of thousands of sockeye salmon as they swim up stream to spawn. The cycle replays every year - the salmon return to reproduce and as they swim upstream to do that, many become weak, the bears get their fill of high value food, the salmon eventually reach their destination, spawn, die and float back down river where the bears and gulls tidy up, fuelling their bodies for the coming winter.

This photo was taken late last year.

There is only one camera operating at the moment, and there will be four soon, but even with one camera it's something you should see. It's a rare sight seeing those huge bears scrambling after fish, swimming, establishing their place in the hierarchy, and living alongside other wild creatures such as wolves and the ever-present seagulls.

July is the peak bear watching month but there are already a few small bears at the falls, along with a mother with three cubs. Every week from now on we'll see an increase in the number of bears feeding at the falls. If you get a chance, have a look. Like me, you'll probably be amazed at how we can sit in our homes while watching these beautiful animals, live out there, living in the wilderness.

ADDED LATER:

This little fellow is at the falls now. It's 5.30pm there and the bears will continue feeding until midnight.

🐻🐻🐻

My sincere thanks to everyone who left a comment on the previous post about how they reduce their household waste.  There were many excellent ideas that I know will help others work on this important aspect of home management.  Soon there will be other posts dealing with the waste issue and I hope we have your continued involvement as we build up a resource for everyone to refer to.