The last few days have been characterised by incredibly long days, it’s light well before 5am and twilight does not fall until about 10:30pm so we have been maximising every hour to fund bears. Literally looking for wildlife and out ‘in the field’ for at least 15 hours a day. So by now we are already suffering from sleep deprivation, giving us barely any time to update on the blog or have access to the internet. So for now here is a quick update before we get some much needed sleep!
We have had many bear sightings and not a day has gone by that we have not seen both Grizzly and/or Black bears. Some sightings giving us some nice photo opps and some not. On some occasions the sightings have been a little distance away and some very very close!
We have again found the black bear and her two 4 month old cubs, in a dense area of woodland. Having moved quite some distance downhill. The cubs barely sit still for a moment, darting up and down trees, mostly behind a strategically placed bush, always a photographers nightmare! However, although sometimes frustrating its still great to see them in their natural habitat and you can’t expect to get ‘the shot’ every time! Spending time with these bears is something that is truly precious.
In addition we have seen at least 5 other new bears, one of which was a sow with the most adorable cub and at least another 2 new grizzlies. Also again finding the grizzly sow and her yearling that we also saw a few days back. So all in all it’s been a great few days and we certainly hope our luck continues in the same fashion that its started off. We are still hoping for that ‘full frame’ shot of a cub up a tree!
The weather has been kind to us, with a few lovely days, two of which saw the temperature soar to 22 degrees centigrade. In fact two of those days we were ironically begging for clouds to form as we have found that photographing the bears in sunlight is certainly not the best condition and also means that the bears tend to hunker down more in their hidden ‘daybeds’ when its so warm.
Of course its not just about bears, this morning we photographed a beautiful Osprey, located on the edge of a stunning lake called Medicine Lake, further up the mountain and surrounded by more stunning scenery. Last night we had a sighting at twiglight of a Coyote along the high way. In addition we have also had a very brief distance sighting of a wolf trotting along the top of the ski area. It disappeared fast but still the adrenilin pumped in seeing it. We have yet to see Caribou or Moose but have seen a few imoressive Elk andof course some of the smaller critters, including a fee very cute chipmunks.
We have now moved to a different location for the next 4 nights, around a 75 minute drive from the centre of Jasper and in the state of British Columbia where we hoped to find some more new bears. Although here its much lower in altitude and vast areas here have already ‘greened up’ meaning the bears may already be spread out in this area and less focussed around the green roadside verges so we may indeed find ourselves commuting to Jasper!
This evening we took a drive along a gravel track, and happy in finding many signs of bear activity, including scat and tracks. This excited us as the area felt more remote and was fabulous knowing we still had some bear activity. Sure enough 20 minutes later we found a black bear but on hearing our vehicle it soon bolted from the meadow where it was feeding. Given the behaviour of this bear and the fact this area is far quieter we suspect the bears here will be much harder to photograph.