This year I had hoped to photograph the Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears fishing for salmon. My dates were for what has been traditionally the peak of the salmon run. However, as often happens in wildlife photography Mother Nature refused to cooperate. An inordinate amount of rain in previous weeks had raised the level of the water and the salmon had not begun their run. Although fishermen were able to catch their limits fishing for the bears was hampered by the high water, low numbers of fish and continuing rain. Nonetheless, the days at Lake Clark National Park were rewarding. In spite of the rain and poor light I was able to get some images I thought worthy of sharing.
A Bear And A Porpoise
(Click on an image to enlarge)
In the ten years I’ve been photographing Coastal Brown Bears I’ve never seen the event that unfolded one morning while we were out on the beach scouting for bears. Apparently, a dead porpoise washed up on the beach. An unknown bear had noticed it and partially covered it with sand in an attempt to hide it. As we approached a very large, handsome bear discovered the porpoise. He decided to drag it off into the grass (not without some difficulty). After getting the porpoise in the grass he pounced on it several times. I would suppose this was to break the bones and/or skin. His success was limited and eventually like the other bear he decided to leave the carcass for a later time. The following images document what I saw.
The primary food sources for the bears are grass, berries, clams and fish. This late in the summer the grass was seeding and not very nourishing, berries were pretty much gone, clamming can only be done when the tide is out and there weren’t many clams, and the salmon weren’t running. Most of the bears had gone to other areas to find food.
The scenario could change quickly once the salmon came in. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen while I was there. However, a few bears patrolled the beach and the creeks eating a bit of grass and finding a few clams here and there giving us some photo opportunities.
Agra And Her Cubs
We were fortunate to have several sightings of Agra and the remaining two of her three cubs. She was obviously waiting for the salmon. In the meantime, she looked for clams at low tide and kept guard on her young cubs. In order to cool off and get rid of the mosquitos and gnats that were everywhere she took a dunk. The cubs weren’t anxious to go in the water with her. This one sat at the edge and whined.
I have a few more images that I’ll share in the next post. If you’d like to be notified when I post new images, please sign up at the top of this page.
I always enjoy hearing from you. Comments can be added below. Thanks for joining me. Cheryl