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.
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.
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.
While fishing in the Jacuzzi, 856 appeared to be startled by an enthusiastic fish jumping up out of the water near him.
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.
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.
For those that may be wondering where Margot Creek is in relation to Brooks River here is a map from Mike Fitz.
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.
Too much girth and not enough length makes sliding off the falls a bit of a challenge for 747. #stubbyleggedbearproblems
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.
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.
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.
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.
812 had a great moment in the Jacuzzi when a fish jumped right into his mouth!
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.
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)
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.
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!
In news of other wildlife, a cam op monitoring the Dumpling Mountain cam gave us some great close up shots of a ground squirrel.
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.
We also saw some Threespine Stickleback fish on the Underwater Cam. More info here.
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.
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.
The 2019 Bears of Brooks River ebook is available for downloading here.