Bearcam Week in Review August 30, 2019

Hi and welcome to our weekly Bear Cam blog. We will be publishing this blog every week with a review of the previous weeks Bear Cam highlights. Brought to you by your bear cam Mods, LaniH and GABear. This weeks highlight video can be viewed here.

Our Lower River cam showing views of the mouth of the Brooks River, Naknek Lake, and the spit came back online this week.  The views didn’t disappoint. We saw some beautiful scenic views as well as bears.

Lower River Sunrise Snapshot by ColoradoCarol

Lower River Sunrise Snapshot by ColoradoCarol

The past week saw a continuation of a more typical August along the Brooks River. Fewer than 10 bears have been seen, with over half of them being sub adults. There are still some Sockeye Salmon in the river as well as some Silver (aka Coho)Salmon. As we get closer to September we’re hopeful that more bears will begin returning to the river to feed on the dead and dying salmon as they begin to wash back down the river after spawning.

Salmon staging below the bridge. Snapshot by Blair-55

Salmon staging below the bridge. Snapshot by Blair-55

856 has returned to the river. His presence, along with what has been the regular appearance through August of 747, altered the behavior of the sub adults that have been fishing at the falls. They now need to exercise a lot more caution at the falls if either dominant bear is present, waiting their turn for a fishing spot or hurrying out of the path of 856 or 747. Not surprisingly, 856 and 747 have exchanged a few “words” and a hop charge as they reestablished the dominance hierarchy. 856 made it clear he was still #1.

856 and 747 have words in the far pool Snapshot by Phillydude

856 and 747 have words in the far pool Snapshot by Phillydude

856 displaces 747 from the jacuzzi Snapshot by Bookmom

856 displaces 747 from the jacuzzi Snapshot by Bookmom

While fishing in the Jacuzzi, 856 appeared to be startled by an enthusiastic fish jumping up out of the water near him.

Fish Lands on 856s Back - Bear cam
856 found a good spot to eat in the office area, climbing over behind the large log there and being protected by the wall on his other side.

856 favorite new spot to eat in the office Snapshot by Blair-55

856’s favorite new spot to eat in the office Snapshot by Blair-55

One of our other adult bears was recently seen fishing at Margot Creek, 12-15 miles from Brooks River. Ranger Barbara Lutes saw 435 Holly looking quite ready for a run at Fat Bear this year. Ranger Barbara took these photos of 435 Holly.

435 Holly at Margot Creek picture by B.Lutes/NPS

435 Holly at Margot Creek picture by B.Lutes/NPS

435 Holly at Margot Creek picture by B.Lutes/NPS

435 Holly at Margot Creek picture by B.Lutes/NPS

For those that may be wondering where Margot Creek is in relation to Brooks River here is a map from Mike Fitz.

margot creek in reference to brooks

854 Divot showed up this week late Thursday evening. 747 approached her as she was up on the lip and took a few  swipes at her from below. 747 then climbed the fish ladder to continue their discussion. 854 Divot mumbled and grumbled until 747 walked away.

747 has words with 854 Divot Snapshot by Phillydude

747 has words with 854 Divot Snapshot by Phillydude

Too much girth and not enough length makes sliding off the falls a bit of a challenge for 747. #stubbyleggedbearproblems  😉

bearslide

The sub adults have continued to pretty much carry the show, keeping us entertained with their playing and fishing.
812, 909 and 910 seemed to be doing a little more than playing in this 3 way conflict. 909 and 910 got a little too close to 812 as he was eating his salmon.

812, 909, and 910 have words Snapshot by LaniH

812, 909, and 910 have words Snapshot by LaniH

821 had a great time playing around with a stick. We just love seeing the sub adults well fed and able to take time to play. :-)

821 playing with a stick Snapshot by CamOp Nan

821 playing with a stick Snapshot by CamOp Nan

With the low water exposing a rocky ledge on the far side of the falls, 907 (?) was able to find a cozy hidey hole in the far wall to enjoy his fish.

907 (?) eating in a hidey hole Snapshot by CamOP Aspire

907 (?) eating in a hidey hole Snapshot by CamOP Aspire

The young sub adults continue to have great success learning to fish on the lip of the falls. 909 makes a great catch in this photo.

909 making a catch on the lip Snapshot by LaniH

909 making a catch on the lip Snapshot by LaniH

812 had a great moment in the Jacuzzi when a fish jumped right into his mouth!

Fish Jumps Into 812s Mouth - Bear cam

909 also demonstrated some interesting technique – although we’re not sure about its purpose. It was a lot of fun to watch her sitting up with her paws in the air and imagine what she might be thinking, though.

909 throwing her paws in the air Snapshot by pkilborn

909 throwing her paws in the air Snapshot by pkilborn

Not to be outdone in the paws up department, 910 stood in the far pool. The paw movement looked like maybe she was clapping to rally the fish around her. (Yes, your Mods can anthropomorphize, too)

910 "clapping" Snapshot by CamOp SweetSue

910 “clapping” Snapshot by CamOp SweetSue

The large tree stump/rootball in the Lower River continued to be a play toy for the sub adults. We suspect they may have been finding fish trapped in and around it under the water’s surface, but they definitely were playing on the part above the surface.

902 tries to pull the tree root ball over Snapshot by Larinor

902 tries to pull the tree root ball over Snapshot by Larinor

902 climbs on top of the tree root ball Snapshot by Jen

902 climbs on top of the tree root ball Snapshot by Jen

Our Underwater cam housing had grown quite a colony of algae in the time since its last cleaning. While viewers were hoping a human volunteer would brave the chilly water to clean it, Ranger S.A. (Sub Adult) Bear took matters into his own hand….errr paws and did a pretty efficient job of removing the worst of the algae growth!

Bear cleans underwater cam
In news of other wildlife, a cam op monitoring the Dumpling Mountain cam gave us some great close up shots of a ground squirrel.

Ground Squirrel on Dumpling Mountain Snapshot by Corrwest

Ground Squirrel on Dumpling Mountain Snapshot by Corrwest

We had some good views of some fish that were not salmon. A Longnose Sucker fish was caught on cam near the shore in the Lower River area. More info on this fish can be found here.

Longnose Sucker Fish Screen shot by LaniH

Longnose Sucker Fish Screen shot by LaniH

We also saw some Threespine Stickleback fish on the Underwater Cam. More info here.

Stickleback Fish Snapshot by Larinor

Stickleback Fish Snapshot by Larinor

Our RiverWatch Camera had many beautiful sunsets this past week. One in particular was stunning with the sun setting and a bear swimming right through the sun light on the river.

Sunset Snapshot by CamOp Scout

Sunset Snapshot by CamOp Scout

Bear of Brooks Falls – Meet Bear 747.

Bearcam viewer Survey

Just how important is an individual animal? How might the famous bearcam bears influence conservation efforts? Mike Fitz talks about it here.  Please help us answer those questions and more by taking this survey.   

Are You There Brown Bear

Mike Fitz has launched a Community Science Project where your snapshot can help monitor information about the bears you see on the cams.

This community science project will supplement the Brooks River bear monitoring program by recording observations of bears during and outside official monitoring sessions, essentially extending one aspect of the bear monitoring program through an entire summer and beyond as long as the webcams are functioning.

To participate: After taking a Snapshot, click on “Community Science” below the snapshot.

community science

The 2019 Bears of Brooks River ebook is available for downloading here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *