A throwback image I haven’t shared previously dating back to July 2019 and our visit to Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. This gorgeous bruin snagged itself a huge salmon and gave me a cool capture soon after. I anxiously await the day when I can return to this magical place and see these amazing animals again.
One for #ThrowbackThursday to July 2021 on our most recent visit to Yellowstone National Park. We are beginning to map out our summer plans for 2024 and that will include a return to this amazing place. That got me thinking about some of the pics from our last trip that I never shared, including this one.
This cutie’s mom was grazing in a meadow, enjoying a mild summer day. We were unaware she had a cub until it scrambled down a tree and ran up to see what mom was doing. While it waited for mom to finish her snack, it stood up, watching us but more so a massive bison bull that was approaching.
The look it gave was so darned cute! It was fascinating to watch the interaction between the species with the bison unphased by the bears and the bears well-aware and wary of the big boy’s presence. Soon, mama decided it was better to retreat and her and the cub headed off into the forest.
One for Throwback Thursday, harkening to July 2019 when I had the privilege of visiting Katmai National Park & Preserve.
The bears were seemingly everywhere and quite active as they took advantage of the salmon run. While they were largely focused on the fish, they were also quite aware of the other bears in the area, not wanting to have their catch stolen or risk getting into a fight over another’s territory. This one appeared to be on the younger side, judging from its size, and it largely kept its distance from the bigger boars and sows.
Going back to early September of last year for these pics in an attempt to mix things up a bit from the usual subjects I photograph and share during the winter. A few bears had moved down to lower elevations in the early fall into unusually public locations. They were highly motivated to fatten up before hibernation and the forage at higher altitude wasn’t sufficient. This provided a couple of cool photo ops that I had to take advantage of. This particular bear had climbed quite high into an oak tree to reach the available acorns near the top. It was pretty amazing to watch just how agile it could be without much to stand on. The bear was a long ways across the South Platte River so these pics are very cropped and not as nice as I would like but still fun to see and share.
Last but not least in my look back at my photo year, we come to mammals big and small – with a reptile thrown in for good measure as well. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to photograph so many of the creatures which we share this planet with. Each one is special and each chance to see them thrills me. Enjoy this view of pika, marmots, bison, foxes, bears and so much more!
A never shared before pic harkening back to 2019 for #TBT.
I was recently chatting with my protégé, Jude Walters Photography, about Alaska and my experience in that amazing place and his forthcoming trip next year. As we did, I was scrolling through pics from my bear excursion in Katmai National Park & Preserve and began to realize how I had a ton of pics I never shared. So, here you go.
We landed in a float plane at a small lake and then hiked the two miles to the river. As we did, I was seeing bears along the way but none close enough to do much with and was kind of annoyed we weren’t getting closer. Our guide, sensing my frustration, told me, “Just wait.” He was right.
We weren’t at the river two minutes and along comes this beautiful lady and her cute-as-a-button cub of the year. Like all the bears at that time of year, they were not concerned with us, instead, staying focused on the salmon that were spawning in the river and the veritable feast to be had. Nothing short of amazing and I eagerly anticipate the day when I can return to that magical place.
Young black bear’s eyes through the trees. Going back to early last month and my encounter with this young black bear. My first view of it wasn’t exactly clear but it made for kind of a neat, different capture. It was well-buried in oak trees, happily dining on acorns. Its movement was a giveaway to its location and I was only occasionally getting a glimpse of it. There was one “hole” in the tree coverage where I could somewhat see inside and after a time, the bear moved itself into that window. Here you get a look similar to what I initially did, showing the cute face and gentle eyes of the creature.
Going back a few weeks to the second of two black bears I was privileged to photograph over a two day period. This one was, unfortunately, quite a long ways away but given the rarity of the sighting, it was still special.
This big bruin put on a great show demonstrating just how adept black bears are at climbing. It worked its way through the oak trees, devouring acorns as it went. Oftentimes, it would go out quite far on a limb, precariously balancing itself as seen in this image.
It was cool to watch and I was amazed at not only how agile it was but also that the branches managed to withstand the bear’s weight.
How about this cutie?
Even with the extraordinary amount of time I spend in nature, it has been pretty rare for me to see a black bear here at home in Colorado. They are quite common, just not commonly seen.
Two weekends ago, I got word that a number of them had moved to some lower elevations in the hunt for food to fatten up before their long winter’s slumber. That was, of course, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
It was a bit of a trek but I did end up finding this cute, young bear as it gorged on acorns. It was a lot of fun to watch it as it climbed the trees, getting its fill. At one point the little one even fell out of the tree when it ventured too far out on a limb.
Judging by its size, it likely was only two years old, having just gotten the boot from mama and now out on its own. While it looks like I was close, the image was shot at 500mm and has been cropped. As always, I ensured I maintained a respectful distance and did not pressure the bear or linger.
In the wake of the devastating floods in Yellowstone National Park a couple of weeks ago, my mind has been wandering to all the sights and critters I have witnessed in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem over the years.
Certainly, one of the most memorable was almost one year ago when we got to see this pretty grizzly bear and her cubs of the year. I restrained myself from sharing very many pics of her at the time as she has a bit of a reputation and I didn’t want to draw attention to her.
Felicia, officially known as Grizzly 863, is estimated to be nine years old now and has become a fixture in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Her propensity to hang out in well-trafficked areas has caused consternation among wildlife officials and they have tried to encourage her to move to more private environs with little success.
There has been a lot of debate over how to handle her as she has never been a truly problem bear – she hasn’t threatened humans or shown any desire to intrude on human settlements. Felicia simply seems to like the area due to its abundant food supply and the fact that being in the proximity of humans helps to dissuade male bears (boars) who might threaten her cubs.
I only saw her this one time and for a brief 20 minutes or so but it was a fantastic experience that I was happy to have.