Black Bear

We are creatures of habit and wildlife are no different. I came across this medium size black bear, brown in colour, walking and stopping to get a mouthful as he went along. From past experience I had a sense what route he would be taking, I went ahead and waited for him with the window down. I could not see him, but I could see the shrubs moving as he passed by them and on occasion the sounds he made when touching the shrubs. With no one else in the area, the chances were good he was heading toward me. The hope was when he went up the short incline near me, he would see me and give me a quick look before passing by me. My goal was to have the camera focused on his face and get a picture of him  looking toward the camera. That evening it played out just as I hoped.

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Middle of the day in the forest this grizzly mother and her two cubs walking, searching for food. Stopping to dig for roots, eating berries they came across and other vegetation. With no threat in the area, the cubs often lingered behind their mom, playing and eating. 

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Large male grizzly spotted walking near the edge of the forest. Bears at this time are spread out, searching for food. They have about two months to go before some will start looking to go to sleep. Not much food can be found bottom of the valleys, higher up in the meadows where food comes later, are places where the bears are searching. Adding on weight to survive the coming winter, half pregnant females adding on weight to be able to give birth in January.

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Black Bear

Shepherd canadensis are their official name, but also called buffalo berry, soapberry, and by a few other names. The plant has edible berries, usually in red, but also seen in yellow and orange colours. Found across Canada, the shrub grows from a meter to two meters tall, grows in dry to moist woods, on sandy, rocky and in gravelly soils. Out here it blooms in May to June and the berries ripen in July. Elk, deer and bighorn sheep consume the leaves, while some birds and mammals eat the berries. The later includes both the brown and the black bear.

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Six month old grizzly cub, enjoying its first summer. Every day is a new challenge, everyday security provided by it's mother. It will spend 3 to 4 years with its mother, learning what to eat and how to be safe. 

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Mountain Goat

This kid was just few weeks old when the picture was taken. Getting to spend sometime near the bottom of the valley, with its mother nearby. Most of its time will be spent much higher up, where it's safe from most predators. 

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Mountain Goat

In wildlife for many species, including for the mountain goats, the female looks after their  young from the day they are born to the day they are on their own. The nanny will give birth away from others, when the kid can get around the two will seek the company of others. The kid will never be too far from the nanny. The nanny will help the kid with food, help it learn to climb, nanny using their eyes to help guide the kid through a safe route on a side of a mountain. So the least a kid can do is provide it's mother a place to rest her head for a few seconds on a hot day.

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Most living in the mountains or visiting, have sighting of grizzlies on the top of their list of wildlife they want to see. It's one of the often asked questions on social media or face to face, where can they go to see bears. The answer will often disappoint them, which is "get out as much as you can'. There are other factors, look for them from May to October, take the slower speed routes and drive at the speed limit so your eyes can see more around you, but these and other factors play a smaller role. Get out and explore as much as possible. It's very rare I'll be out looking just for bears, I like to get  out and explore and from experience I know I'll have more than my share of bear sightings. Nature is a pretty amazing, but it will never show you everything all at once, the more you get out the more it will show you. 

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Black Bear

This year I have been lucky enough to come across few large black bear. This male for hundred meters or so came out of the forest and walked on the road, a very confident male took his time as he walked in the open before heading back into the trees.

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A picture of a bull elk taken few weeks back, busy eating in the Bow Valley. Busy gaining weight and growing its antlers for the rut season that will start in late August. 

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This one year old grizzly, showing more independence but still not too far from its mother. After realizing his mother and sibling had moved on, it quickly covered the distance.

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The life cycle of a plastic bottle. The oil that is extracted from the ground is cleaned at the refinery and  then at the plastic factory the oil is transformed into plastic pellets, followed by bottle pre-forms. The pre-forms are shaped into bottles and then filled with water, which end up in the stores. From there the water is purchased and consumed, most empty bottles ends up at the landfills, some are recycled and few are thrown out as litter. Still a lot of work needed to not use plastic when possible, recycle when used and not litter at all. This grizzly mother may only find water in the plastic bottle, but the plastic can still harm her mouth and the bad habit was quickly picked up by her cubs. All wildlife need from us is a space to call home.

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Bighorn Sheep

This ewe and other Bighorn Sheep were moving along the valley, then one by one they started climbing, in few seconds this female was twenty meters above me looking down, the dust still settling. A good skill to have when trying to get away from predators.

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Black Bear

Black Bear claws are adapted for them to easily climb trees, cubs right out of the den they are ready and capable. Unlike the long claws of the grizzly bears, the black bears have sharp, shorter and curved claws, perfect for climbing trees to get away from predators, a place to sleep, rest or to find food. Two black bears can get into a fight on a tree, the advantage would be for the bear  below, the upper bear can't fight face to face and when bears do climb down, their bottom has to be facing the bottom. In the case of this picture, the cubs were sleeping on the tree while their mother was feeding below. She climbed up the tree and woke up her cubs, the sleepy heads one by one climbed down.

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Black Bear

Lots of food out there for the bears to feed on, this male was travelling through the valley, stopping to eat. I'm sure this large male like the other large males has matting on his mind. During this time of the season they do lots of travelling, hoping to find mates. It's probably the only time of the year when they are not sleeping, when eating becomes secondary.

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I have seen my share of wildlife, each time I come across wildlife it reminds me why I live in the mountains. Getting to live in an amazing place, where the more I explore the more I want to be out there. Seeing this beautiful grizzly helps me look forward to my next outing.

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