Seagulls in the Khutzeymateen

Khutzeymateen gull in flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Though named for its bears, the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary shelters a great variety of other wildlife as well.  Seagulls abound in the inlet with several different species mixing in with any one of the flocks.

Symmetry - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Water launch - 2013 © Christopher Martin

With the salmon running up the creeks to spawn, the bears would go into the forest where the water is shallow for easy hunting.  When a bear is feeding upstream, seagulls soon arrive at the river mouth and wait for the scraps.

A sentry for scraps - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Waiting for the bears to feast - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Bears are pretty messy when they are feasting on salmon so a lot of bits float down.  The birds hang in the air and perch along the banks watching for the bright red meat in the water.

A morsel of salmon caught - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The aerial acrobatics as they angle for position, dive for scraps, hold their territory and generally heckle one another are a lot of fun to watch.  The small streams keep the birds packed into a little area which allows for great photography as they fly in the same locations repeatedly.  Even with big lenses, it is relatively easy to track them as they fly up and down, back and forth.

Aerial surveillance - 2013 © Christopher Martin

On the sail out of the inlet, a few seagulls were using a stick of driftwood as there base of operations.  I don’t know if they were on a break from the salmon or if the insects along the surface were more enticing.

Adrift in the inlet - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Whether on the rivers or out on the open water, I enjoyed photographing these birds throughout my time in the Khutzeymateen.

14 responses

  1. Fraz

    very nice work, great pictures

    October 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm

  2. ninano

    Very nice photos; especially the second one. It’s rare to see a common bird being photographed in a unique posture. You succeeded in capturing this one.

    October 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    • Thank you Ninano. They were very approachable and went about their business in our presence so that allowed for the time to try to capture some interesting behaviours and postures.

      October 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm


    So glad I found your blog. It gives me hope!

    October 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    • And I’m very happy you found my blog too! I hope you stop by often.
      Best regards,

      October 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm


        How can I not?

        October 18, 2013 at 8:46 am

  4. I will take my salmon “on the rocks” , please. Great shots of their behaviours. and postures. Like seeing the mix of ages and species.

    October 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    • I’m with you – fighting those gulls for scraps would be a hard way to get sushi!

      October 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

  5. Wonderful!

    By the way, did you use a polarizing filter for the second and the third pictures?

    October 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    • Hi Svetlana,
      It was quite dark so I was not using a polarizer. With the diffused light through the clouds, it has a somewhat similar look though.


      October 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm

  6. Fantastic shots. I’ve always like seagulls and these are incredible.

    October 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm

  7. Of all your photo collections I love the birds most. You capture such wonderful moments

    October 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    • Thank you so much. I will try to post more birds – assuming they cooperate!

      October 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

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