Seal River Day Three: Early morning copters and bears

So Its time to try the Copter out. It had one test since we arrived in Canada, near Lake Louise. The agreement with the Lodge is it is ok to fly, so long as we don’t annoy the bears.

Charlie in his enthusiasm wants to be up at 5:30. I protest and negotiate 6am. Kinder to us and the rest of the Lodge. Also, if people want to go into the compound around the Lodge they need to tell someone. The Kitchen staff are up and working by 6am, so this seems a more reasonable time to rise.

The flight is a technical success (ie it flies and lands) but it disturbs a  bear that had bedded down near the lodge, and so the first flight is short.

Sleepy bear in the long grass, the picture is sharp, its the bugs that make the paws fuzzy
Sleepy bear in the long grass, if you double click for a bigger image please note that the picture is sharp, its the bugs that make the paws fuzzy
Ready to go
Ready to go

Getting up that early is rewarded by bears playing in the morning light, photographer heaven.

Lets play?
Lets play?

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Once they are tired of play, the bears decide to pay us a visit.

Curious bear
Curious bear

One is brave and comes and checks us out at the fence, while his buddy sits back and watches,

Watching from a distance
Cautious bear

Bear in touching distance

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The curious bear seems to be the leader, once he has sniffed us over, he wanders back to his friend relaxing in the background and nudges and nips him into action.

Lets go
Time to go

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Charlie gets another short flight in before breakfast.

 

Copter returns to compound
Copter returns to compound

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Whats that noise?
Whats that noise?
The tiny dot at the top of the screen is the Copter and the tiny white dot a bear
The tiny dot at the top of the screen is the Copter and the tiny white dot a bear
Charlie with Copter in the Lodge compound
Charlie successfully lands Copter in the Lodge compound
Maybe I'll go back to sleep, now the buzzing has stopped?
Maybe I’ll go back to sleep, now the buzzing has stopped?

Another outing in the boats is planned, and while we await the tide we go for our morning hike. The adventure we are on is called “Bears, Birds and Belugas”, we have had the first and last of these in spades. There are a range of birds around, and we were lucky enough to get close to a pair of sandhill cranes.

About to take flight
About to take flight

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Well camouflaged
Cranes in flight
Sandhill Cranes in flight

As well as the ever present and cute Sic-sic,

Little sic-sic
Little sic-sic

there are also hares around the compound. There are no rabbits in the region, only hares

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Charlie and I choose, with a number of others, to try our luck with the Beluga. Another group goes out on the other boat to bear spot at Seal River. While I don’t regret being Beluga bait again, the other party get to see a mother bear and cub playing in the water. I’m just a little jealous.

Hoods up, its going to be a rough ride

Hoods up, its going to be a rough ride

The water is very choppy, this makes for a rough bone shaking ride. Its also harder to see the Beluga underwater, but to breath they seem to be rising higher above the surface of the water compared to the previous day.

Beluga whales waiting for their mornings entertainment

Charlie is first in the water and already attracting a crowd
Charlie is first in the water and already attracting a crowd
The Beluga follow Charlie back to the boat
Note the stirred up water behind his shoulder – this is Beluga following Charlie back to the boat

After returning to the lodge, our pre-dinner wander is short (a dry hike that does not involve clambering over rocks and across the inter-tidal zone – a welcome break) but fruitful as we meet a very beautiful girl.

Beautiful girl
Beauty makes an appearance
Just can't shake off the bugs!
Just can’t shake off the bugs!
Beauty strides across the airstrip with the lodge in the background
Beauty strides across the airstrip with the lodge in the background

DOB arrives, and frightens off the new girl.

DOB arrives
DOB arrives
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Walking with DOB

DOB’s arrival makes returning to the lodge an interesting task, as the Guides need to navigate us around both DOB and a now unseen Beauty.

After dinner a small bear settles in for the night where the big boys had been sleeping earlier in the day.

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Bear settling in for the night, next to the grass beds made by the boys the previous night
Bear settling in for the night, next to the grass beds made by the boys the previous night

 

Another but very different sunset
Sunset day three

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