Mountaintop Black Bear

Here's an aerial view of an obviously well-fed black bear eating berries at around 3,000 feet during my flight through Eagle River Valley last week. This was one of about a dozen black bears that we saw high on the slopes grazing on autumn berries. Black bears are typically forest-dwelling creatures but with brown/grizzly bears roaming the lower reaches of the valley in search of salmon, they may be seeking the safety and food supply of the higher elevations.



Treetop Dining

Here is something you don't see every day - a large black bear 50 feet up a tree eating cottonwood seeds. Black bears are excellent climbers and have claws designed for this as compared to their grizzly cousins, who are more adapt at digging than climbing. Still, it always amazes me to see an animal that is several hundred pounds appear so at ease in a treetop.

Spring in the Valley

Hello and happy Monday, friends! Seems I’ve been wrapped up in some major spring-cleaning and other demanding projects and haven’t posted in a while. In that time, Eagle River Valley has gone from showing the last traces of winter to an explosion of color and wildlife. I’ve been getting out for brief hikes here & there and to catch the last bit of late evening light, but yesterday I met up with a friend and went for a nice 9-mile trek. I was fortunate enough to capture a rare, white calypso orchid while it was still in bloom, spot a couple of black bears, and witness many signs of the oncoming season. The sun is now setting after 11 pm and the valley is full of life.  I look forward to chasing more light during the long days ahead.




Little Climber

Black bears are excellent climbers; you might even say that cubs have "squirrel-like" agility, which serves as an escape mechanism when there is perceived danger. If you compare the claws of a black bear to those of a brown/grizzly bear, the difference is easy to spot, making it apparent how black bears are suited for climbing trees while grizzlies have claws designed for digging.