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 week, while Sub Adult Summer continued, there were also some signs of fall. We saw sub adults play-fighting and or wrestling every day – usually several times a day. They entertained us at the falls, in the Lower River, in the storm debris laden grasses that were once dry land, on dry land, and everywhere in between. Sometimes they entertained us and themselves in a solo performance, wrestling with sticks, branches, a slippery fish, and seemingly even with themselves. Explore’s highlight video for the week contains a good bit of fun footage of these scenes, you can watch it here. We also saw sub adults napping near the corner causing a long bear jam and a sub adult having success fishing in the jacuzzi! Probably the most interesting sub adult behavior was seeing one dive completely under the water in the Lower River and remain there for quite a number of long (if you’re a viewer waiting for it to surface) seconds.
A few things alerted us to the fact that fall is just around the corner, though. On sunny days, the grasses on the lower river islands are starting to show their beautiful golden fall color. On Wednesday, August 29, 409 Beadnose became the first of the bears who departed during August to return to the river for the fall fishing season. And Ranger Andrew announced the dates for the annual Fat Bear Week competition!
Mark your calendars!
Fat Bear Week 2018 is coming October 3rd to 9th! The fattest bear will be crowned on Fat Bear Tuesday, 10/9.
We will have some cool extras during the week this year–Stay tuned for details on those.
We’re looking forward to the gluttonous gauntlet!
Not to be outdone 854 Divot has been eating and packing on the pounds in preparation for Fat Bear Week also.
747 gave us a good view of his efforts to win Fat Bear Week also:
It was not only the sub adults that enjoyed some play-fighting time this week. Several adults bears also felt well fed enough to take some time away from fishing to play. Not surprisingly all these encounters involved 503! 503 played with various sub adults. 503 and 151 Walker engaged in a round or two; and we are pretty certain that 503 even got 755 Scare D Bear to loosen up and play for a few minutes.
One adult bear who has absolutely no interest in playing is 854 Divot. Divot has been very aggressive with a number of bears. It has been interesting to observe her behavior. Often she becomes aggressive and demanding of a certain fishing spot even when another one of her preferred spots is available. She will sit or stand near the bear who is in the spot she wants for long periods of time. We can see her mouth moving often during these times. Presumably she is making some noise in an attempt to further intimidate the other bear. She seems more aggressive than most of the males that have stayed around during August. We have seen her charge 804, and attempt to intimidate 755, 503 and even 747 away from their spots, sometimes with success, although 747 has also charged at her. She has gone right up behind 128 Grazer and attempted to move her from a spot at the falls.
The regular bears seen this week didn’t change much with the exception of the return of 409 Beadnose. 747, 151 Walker, 503, 755 Scare D Bear, 128 Grazer, 854 Divot, 812, and 804 were seen most all days.
Believe it or not we are still seeing fish jumping the falls which means that our lip fishers are still having success catching fish. Both 804 and 409 Beadnose have made successful catches on the lip.
Throughout August we watched a young subadult try and try to catch a fish in the jacuzzi but with no success. On Thursday August 30 he was finally able to catch one to the delight of cam watchers.
In non bear related views this week, we continued to see huge “flotillas” of Mergansers quickly swimming, diving and seeming to “run” across the surface of the water. We also saw them swimming and diving on the underwater cam. One in particular gave us an up close and personal view swimming very close to the lens. What we think was an Osprey was seen diving from a tree to the river with a big splash one day. A Bald Eagle enjoyed fish scraps on the falls island with 151 Walker. And we got a beautiful close up scenic tour of nearby mountains on the Dumpling Mountain cam one day.
In other 747 news we saw him again napping in the river near the far bank, using a rock as his pillow; who knew such a large bear could look so cute.
747 also had a long stand off with an as of yet not positively ID’d bear, some bears mentioned were 474, 68 and 253. What are your thoughts?
We also saw a limping subadult on Friday, August 31. The young bear was able to put some weight on his foot when he climbed on a log. We have seen a few bears with injured legs make amazing recoveries. 89 Backpack had an injured front leg when he was a yearling, and could put no weight on it. He was all healed the following year. 634 Popeye had an injured hind leg last year. By fall his leg was all healed and he was walking normally. Last year one of 39’s cubs had an injured front paw after a run in with a porcupine, but was fine when the quills worked themselves free. We must always remember how resilient these bears are.
The River Watch (Lower River East) cam came back online this week. It showed us that the spit road is flooded from the very high water levels we are seeing all along the river. With rain continuing the water levels may continue to rise. According to Ranger Andrew:
“The past two to three weeks have been some of the wettest weather I’ve seen here, and that’s adding to an already high water year”
And from Ranger Russ:
“I did hear that our rainfall this year is twice the annual average up to this date.”
Ranger Russ has a new blog out A Brief History of Human and Bear Interaction, read it here.
Mike Fitz has a new blog out about the snorkeling fishing technique, read it here.
In addition to marking your calendars for the upcoming Fat Bear Week, make a note for Wednesday, September 5 at 11 AM PT/2 PM PT to tune in to the Live Chat Channel here, and learn The Story of Bear 503 and His Blended Family