Tag Archives: bear

Holly crowned Fattest Bear

youtu.be/PjfiX31Ehko

Holly, also known as Bear #435, outweighed Lefty in voters minds to win Fat Bear Week.

Watching the video, I think it’s safe to say that Holly put away a lot of salmon this summer.


Battle of the Bruins

Holly: Bear #435

It’s Championship Tuesday at Katmai National Park. Lefty and Holly emerged from the belly battle to face each other for the much coveted “Fattest Bear of Katmai”.

Lefty: Bear #775

Voting takes place on the Katmai National Park F/B page. Send your favorite some love before they head off into hibernation.

Photos credit: Katmai National Park & Preserve


Lurking for salmon

Photo by Robert Hawthorne

Since we’re in the middle of Katmai Week here between The Circles, I wanted to share this photo, although probably not for the reasons many would think.

The pic above was taken of two fishermen in Katmai National Park. I’ve found myself in a similar situation while fishing Alaska’s rivers. Once was with my Dad, which was more nerve-wracking than when I was solo! Forget the bear, I was worried about how my Dad would react.

What I love about this picture, from all my time in Alaska, is that the bear actually has little to no interest in the fishermen. The bear simply has salmon on its mind. We don’t have two fishermen in the picture, but three.

If given half the chance, man can live with wildlife. The two species above, can coexist. Katmai NP&P is a prime example of that. I would hope that is the lesson the photograph has to give. After all, Alaska would be a much poorer place without her bears.

The photo was taken in July by Robert Hawthorne, a photographer out of Bozeman, Montana. His link is below:

https://roberthawthornephotography.com/


Fat Bear Week: Elite Eight

Katmai Bracketology

Voting for the Fattest Bear of Katmai continues over at the Katmai National Park & Preserve Facebook page.

In round one, fan fave Otis went down to Lefty, in an upset. Divot, Grazer and #909 also moved into the second round. There is some large competition waiting for them, as Wide-Body #747, Holly, Chunk and #503 had first round byes, and could continue hoarding calories, as they watched their fellow bears compete.

Hibernation is big business.

Bracket credit: Katmai NP&P


Fat Bear Week

Katmai National Park & Preserve once again enter October Madness with their Fat Bear Week bracket.

Voting starts today, October 2, with Lefty taking on fan favorite Otis.

Four bears of Katmai have used their extensive girth to get a well earned bye: Chunk, the wide body #747, #503, and Holly.

Beadnose, or Bear #409

Surprisingly, Beadnose, the 2018 winner, did not make this year’s cut. So there will be no repeat champion.

The new winner will be crowned on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 8.

Katmai Bracketology

All images courtesy of Katmai National Park & Preserve


Bear with me

Some blog housekeeping:

Upon my return from the lake, I found that WordPress has finally forced me to use their new editor. I have avoided it, ignored it, and found loopholes around it for months now. The demons finally got me when I had my back turned while trout fishing. I hate the new editor and I hate it with a passion. I simply do not have the free time to learn the ins and outs in the summer months. Things could be interesting in the meantime.

To further add to my frustration, my internet connection seems to have slowed to a torturous crawl when I was away. My provider sent me an email today admitting that it seemed slow, but that there were no lines down.

I thought that a bit obvious, since I have service, just slower than postal service. That part of the equation may take a while, as we live in our own time zone up here.

Hopefully, I will continue to just bull my way through it until I get it all figured out, before I’m forced to use a newer editor, but if I get cranky and disappear for days at a time, don’t be surprised, and don’t send out a search party. I’ve either gone back to the lake, or gone back to my typewriter.

Cheers from Alaska


Katmai Bear Cam 2019


Popeye, also known as Bear #634, Photo credit: Katmai National Park

The Bear Cam is back up & running at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. The National Park Service has teamed up once again with explore.org to offer bear viewing in your living room.

The sockeyes started to come in last week, and the brown bears arrived right after that. There were 15-20 bears in sight when I last looked at the cam.

Link to the Bear cam:

https://explore.org/livecams/brown-bears/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls


Arctic Research aboard the RV Polarstern

UTQIAGVIK, Alaska


Recent paths of Arctic ice floes; Source credit: Thomas Krumpen, Alfred Wegener Institute; Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen

Researchers from around the globe have congregated on Alaska’s Arctic coast. They are planning a once in a generation expedition into the heart of one of the harshest environments on Earth: The Arctic.

It’s a 12 month, 17 nation, 300 scientist effort aboard the German ice breaker Polarstern, to document climate change in the Arctic. This coming autumn, the Polarstern will be positioned in a remote part of the Siberian Arctic, and then wait to be frozen in the ice. The research vessel will then flow with the floe; traveling with the ice as it moves across the Arctic Ocean.

Only twice has a transpolar drift happened successfully in history. Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen did it first in 1893. Ten years ago, a small sailing ship named the Tara also completed a transpolar drift without the sea ice crushing its hull.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the National Science Foundation and universities from Alaska-Fairbanks to Oregon State to Dartmouth are involved. Most northern nations are playing a role, as well. Russia, China and Sweden have all committed ships and aircraft for resupply support. Japan and Switzerland have developed new research equipment especially for the expedition.

Unlike Antarctica, there is no land at the north pole to build a permanent research station. The RV Polarstern is the next best thing. At any one time, 60 people will be living and working on the ice breaker. Resupply will take place every 60 days, weather permitting. Researchers will also be swapped out during resupply runs.


Graph credit: National Snow & Ice Data Center

Time is running short for a expedition like this one. The key is to find old sea ice, 4-5 years old, and get locked into that. Since 1980, 95% of Arctic sea ice that is 4+ years old, has been lost. In the graph above, the lightest yellow is 1 year old ice, the dark purple 5+ years old.

It should be an interesting study, although researchers on board the ice breaker from December to February will not see the sun. They should see polar bears, however.

#MOSAiC


Big Ice on the Block


“Kaktovik” – Polar bear on whale carcass, with raven looking on


“War Path”


“Hades’ Hound” – technically not a ‘big block’, but I’ve always had a soft spot for hellhounds

I have not been out to Ice Alaska of late, but with the warm temps, I’m sure most of the carvings are now stumps of ice sitting in puddles. In fact, the past two days have seen temps stay above freezing. That is the first time since recording began, that Fairbanks has seen consecutive days in March stay above 32F degrees.


Museum of the North

Located on the West Ridge of the University of Alaska campus in Fairbanks, is the Museum of the North. The museum takes on the daunting task of introducing visitors to the vastness and diversity, that is Alaska.


Otto the Brown Bear

“Otto” has been greeting visitors to the museum since its inception. He stands, all 8’9″ of him, at the opening of the Gallery of Alaska. The gallery is divided into the five main geographic regions of the state: Southeast, Southcentral, Interior, Western Arctic Coast and Southwest. Originally from Herendeen Bay on the Alaska Peninsula, Otto weighed 1250 pounds at the time of his death.


Woolly Mammoth skull, with mastodon and mammoth jaw

Locked in the permafrost, mammoth skulls have often been found by miners, as they worked the frozen ground for gold. Thirty-one, known, species of Pleistocene mammals roamed Alaska’s ancient grasslands with the mammoth.


Southeast Alaska totem pole


Petroglyph, Alaskan style


“Blue Babe”

Blue Babe is probably my favorite exhibit at the museum. An extinct, mummified, steppe bison, that was discovered in the permafrost by placer miners in 1979. The bison died around 36,000 years ago, killed by an American Lion. The claw and tooth marks can still be seen on the carcass. Shortly after the kill, just before winter, the bison was covered by silt. It was then entombed in cold earth and frozen until excavated.

There are only two other discoveries from the permafrost, that have been reconstructed and put on display like Blue Babe. One a juvenile mammoth and the other an adult mammoth, both are at the Zoological Museum in Leningrad.


Even today, Blue Babe has an American Lion looking over its shoulder


The skull of an American Lion, with one of a saber-toothed cat above and to the left

The American Lion, now extinct, was around 25% larger than the modern lion. They roamed North America in the Pleistocene epoch, 340,000 – 11,000 years ago.


The Antler Throne


Kayak and open boat

The museum is open every day in the summer, and slightly shorter hours M-Sat in the winter. Admission is $14 for adults.


Cannons from the Russian occupation. Included solely for The Curator