Kootenay Black Bears

Stare down - 2013 © Christopher Martin

We went to Radium on the weekend in search of bears.  The dandelions are in bloom in the roadside fields along Highway 93 in the Kootenay National Park that runs west from the British Columbia – Alberta border.  These flowers represent one of the first key crops that the bears can graze on.

Roadside bear - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The narrow valley that winds down to the Kootenay River is beautiful with dense forest, mountain streams and a couple of small lakes.  The last 15 kilometers of the highway hides the yellow patches around corners and draws bears consistently at this time of the year.  During our visit we came upon a few individual bears munching away.  Most drivers stayed in their vehicles and were generally respectful of the bears.  A few exceptions, but on this trip at least, not the worst behaviour that I’ve seen.

Black bear down - 2013 © Christopher Martin

With the bears not threatened, it was fun to watch them snack away, able to concentrate on eating rather than worrying about people.  This black bear settled right down which I took as an indication that he was relaxed.

Chowing down - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Later on, in another field, I saw him scrunch up his nose at one point.  We left and when we drove by later the bear had also moved on.  I’m not sure if the wrinkled nose was a sign of discomfort with the people and cars or he simply wanted to get back into the woods.

Chewing or growling - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I loved the confidence shown by this bear as it strode across the road to a new field.  I worry about the traffic but the drivers on this day were patient and no one rushed the crossing.  Hope to see more and more of that level of awareness.

Bear Crossing - 2013 © Christopher Martin

 

I would have liked to have seen a momma with a couple of cubs.  Maybe they found secluded dandelion patches to enjoy in private.  The bear below took a minute to stare up the hill under the heavy rain.  I did not hear or see anything that would have warranted an alert stare but the bear obviously did.

A regal animal - 2013 © Christopher Martin

 

It was great to see these bears. I hope to get out there again before the flowers turn to seed and these animals disappear back into the woods.

One look back before returning to the forest - 2013 © Christopher Martin

11 responses

  1. wonderfull– i like so much

    July 3, 2013 at 7:19 am

  2. Great sequence. It’s so much fun watching bears like this. While we don’t get to that area often, whenever we have driven that road, we have never found anything including the last time. I guess you never know.

    June 19, 2013 at 1:03 am

  3. elmediat

    Wonderful sequence.

    June 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

  4. Reblogged this on pawnrwt and commented:
    lol

    June 12, 2013 at 3:27 am

  5. bearshouse

    my kin!

    June 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

  6. Wonderful photos! Beautiful.

    June 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

  7. Great pictures! Be careful out there, though!

    June 7, 2013 at 9:31 am

  8. Amazing photos, Chris! I did not know bears like dandelions. Fun to see them munching away!

    June 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm

  9. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography)

    Great shots.
    I wonder if the bears were annoyed with the midges (or mosquitos) which are so obvious in your photos. That’s probably what made them eventually move away (more than humans).

    June 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    • Thank you Victoria – the streaks are rain drops. They are elongated by a slow shutter speed. I can understand seeing them as a flying insect of one type or another.
      Cheers,
      Chris

      June 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

  10. So Black! great with the dandelions!

    June 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm

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