June 25 2018 Bear wildlife tour with Beachcomber Ocean Tours. There are days when you go out on a tour looking for a specific animal, in this case we were looking for black bears. Mother nature never ceases to amaze us, not only did we see black bears but we watched a black-tailed deer walking along the shore.
BC boasts one of the highest populations of black bears in the world with numbers between 120 150 thousand. Pretty much all of BC is considered “bear country” with bears inhabiting coastal forests to the interior grasslands. Black bears are not always black their colour can be everything from the white Kermode bear to a variety of shades of brown. Vancouver Island bears are considered to be slightly larger and blacker than mainland bears.
*Adult males are about 60-90 cm at shoulder height and weigh anywhere from 80-300 kg. Adult females weigh about 30-70 kg. At birth a cub can weigh less than one quarter a kg.
*Black bears are omnivores and opportunistic feeders. Their diet consist mostly of: insects, nuts, berries, grass and other vegetation. Salmon is a staple in the Vancouver Island bear diet. It is the salmon that provides the much needed fat and protein that will carry them through the winter hibernation.
*Mating takes place every two years, in the summer months of June, July and August. Pregnancy lasts about 220 days with the cubs being born in January and February. Litters range from 1 to 5 cubs, though 2 is the average and if there are more than 2 they rarely survive. Cubs stay with their mothers for up to 2 years.
BC is home to 3 types of deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer and white-tailed deer. The mule deer is the most widely distributed of the three but the deer we see here are coastal black-tailed deer. Black-tailed deer are smaller than mule deer, bucks weigh 60-90 kg and does 40-65 kg. The bucks antlers are usually shed in January. Gestation is about 200 days with the fawns being born in early June. The black-tailed deer are superb swimmers and as a result inhabit many coastal islands.
How to Identify California sea lions: California sea lions are smaller than Steller’s and are members of the eared seal family. Mature males have dark brown fur, mature females and immature males have light yellowish to tan fur and have a bump or ball cap on their head.
*A male can weigh 200-400 kg (441-882 lbs) and is 2-2.5 meters long (6.5-8 ft)
*A female can weigh 50-110 kg (110-243 lbs) and is 1.5-2 meters long (5-6.6 ft)
* A baby or pup can weigh at birth 6 kg (13 lbs) and is 75 cm long (30 in)
How to identify Steller sea lions: Steller sea lions are the largest member of the eared seal family. They are tan to golden brown in colour and darken to chocolate brown on their flippers and underside. Males develop a thick neck mane as they mature.
*A male can weigh 450-1,120 kg (990-2,470 lbs) and is 2.82-3.25 meters long (9.3-10.7 ft)
*A female can weigh 240-350 kg (530-770 lbs) and is 2.3-2.9 meters long (7.5-9.5 ft)
*A baby or pup can weigh at birth 23 kg (51 lbs) males are bigger than females.
April 3 2018
Today was an eye opener for me, as a partner in this company I deal with office operations, photo editing, answering the phone, you know the routine stuff. I had the opportunity to go on a whale wildlife tour as the photographer, with my partner and 4 guests. Wow! So much respect for the profession. Imagine what your guide has to deal with on a tour, knowledgable in wildlife, history of the area, operating the boat, finding wildlife, answering many questions, ensuring guests are comfortable and safe, maintaining your required tickets to run a boat, take photo’s if there is an opportunity and run the boat safely while bobbing in the ocean swells! There have been many occasions when my partner has returned from a spectacular tour full of incredible sightings but no photo’s. Taking photo’s is no easy task while bobbing in the swells, I took over 300 and only half a dozen are worth keeping. Kudos to all Guides.
California sea lion.
Beach carnage, a bald eagle snacking on a sea lion carcass.