They're back!

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.



16 comments

  1. Thanks Rhonda. I had my year 7s doing a quiet task and I had this open on my computer on another window. I kept flicking back and forth. Finally, hooray!! A bear! I chromecasted it up onto the huge interactive whiteboard and the kids were rapt.

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    1. So good to "see" you again, Frogdancer. I'm so glad the kids could see the bears.

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  2. I just spent the most beautiful 10 minutes watching a highlight of a mum with her 2 cubs. What impresses me the most is how they just live in the moment. A lesson I should learn a bit more. It's just so beautiful, I get a bit emotional...

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  3. Omg, where did the last 12 months go!! Lovely viewing.

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  4. Oh good....was it really a year ago that I was hooked on these bears? How time flies.

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  5. Umm, I was planning on spending less time on my tablet today, now I have no hope LOL. Truth be told, I am so looking forward to seeing some action.

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  6. Lovely that you watch the bears. I have been watching the White Breasted Sea Eagles at Sydney for about 6 years. They are currently sitting on their eggs and us followers are hoping that both eggs hatch and nothing befalls the hatchees as one chick died from chills last year because of the rain :(. They are so lovely, and sometimes funny, to watch.

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  7. I was lucky enough to go to Alaska several times when I was younger (the benefit of having parents in the travel industry!). My husband and I took a cruise there on our 5th anniversary (we just celebrated our 22nd, so it was long ago now) and we saw a mama bear and two cubs frolicking on the shore of Glacier Bay. It was so wonderful, but that was from a safe distance, using binoculars! Where we live now, 45 minutes away from Seattle, Washington, USA in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, there are bear sightings at this time of year. A mama bear and baby were photographed just this morning about 2 miles from our house. I haven't seen any here personally although I know they are around---we have to have special bear-proof garbage cans because otherwise, the bears use them for their own smorgasbord. If I do see one, I hope I am safe inside my house or car at the time. I'm in awe of them, I'm an animal-loving vegetarian, but I don't need to meet one in person. ;-)

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  8. This would be so exciting! We don't have bears here in Texas but we've been watching a pair of Mexican Eagles. They are beautiful.

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  9. Oh hooray! Thanks for letting us know Rhonda! My kids and I have been checking since mid may hoping for he camera's to be back on. It brings me such deep joy to be able to witness this lovely part of nature! Happy Bear-watching :) Puccetta

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  10. What a lovely link to share! There aren't bears there currently, but it's relaxing to look at the water and gorgeous scenery. Thank you!

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  11. Thank you for this Rhonda. I did watch when you shared this before and it was very calming and reminded me what a big world we live in. I've had the privilege of watching black bears feed on salmon in Alaska, one of my most favourite memories - even if I was terrified of being attacked by a bear. What struck me is the way they tore the fillets off and left the head and bones! We had an eighty year old guide, and the pilot of our seaplane joked that if a bear came towards us we only needed to be able to run faster than the guide. Thanks again.

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  12. Gorgeous photos, Rhonda. I'm headed to bed now, but will be back to watch this tomorrow a.m. Thanks for the link. Loved your blogging class yesterday, too!

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    1. I loved it too, S. What a great bunch of people we had.

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  13. Thank you for this link Rhonda, it's wonderful and I can't wait to share it with my grandson when he's over next.

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  14. I leave the little screen open on my desktop..... I absolutely love watching the feed, gives me wonderful feeling in my chest when I first spot them; and then it is so calming and pure happiness watching them

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