I had no idea that a salmon run could be so abundant. The camera's been running continuously for nearly six weeks now, with salmon leaping all the time, day and night. I had no idea how high they had to leap, either - it's absolutely astonishing.
|The bears at Brooks Falls - I think there's 7 in this picture.|
I've loved watching the bears that are drawn by this abundance of food. Apparently there are around 100 along the whole run. Except very late at night, there's pretty much always 3 or 4 (sometimes as many as 11) here at Brooks Falls, intently watching the water and occasionally pouncing on a salmon. I now know the best salmon-catching spots and a bit about how to go about catching one :-)
I've also come to value having an opposable thumb! Lacking one, the bears can't eat their catch in situ: they have to walk off to a suitable rock where they can pin their flapping catch with a paw whilst filleting it with their teeth. And filleting is all they bother with - the salmon are so abundant that further dismemberment isn't worth the effort. The rest of the carcass is discarded for the gulls and other scavengers to find. I heard once that some people believe these phenomenally-abundant salmon runs are what made the Pacific Northwest so much more fertile than geologically-similar Australia: all those salmon bringing protein and minerals from the sea to the land.
|They may lack opposable thumbs, but they have pretty impressive claws!|
The sun sets slowly so far north which often makes for a gently beautiful display.
|Yesterday's sunset. In the middle you can see the cubs' mum - still out fishing for them late into the night.|