Trip to the Great Bear Rainforest: Karen Atkin

In September I had a trip of a lifetime to the Great Bear Rainforest on the coast of British Columbia. I saw some absolutely amazing birds, flora and fauna.

The trip was on the Maple Leaf, a classic, 92-foot schooner (launched in 1904). While much of the trip was under power, we had the opportunity to sail this amazing vessel. There we only 13 people on the boat – 8 guests and 5 crew, including an amazing naturalist who is a licensed guide.

Maple Leaf

We say whales every day but one; most often humpbacks, but also orcas. On our second last day we have the amazing experiencing of watching two humpbacks bubble feed for almost an hour.

Whales bubble Feeding

We saw grizzly bears on multiple days. One day we were able to get within 50 metres of a mother and her cubs.

Grizzlies – mom and cub
Grizzly and gulls

The birds were abundant. I saw almost 40 different types of birds, including six different types of gulls.

Gulls – Bonaparte and California

Bald Eagles after many years of being endangered are now abundant. In addition to lone adults and mated pairs we saw many juvenile bald eagles.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle pair
Bald Eagle juvenile

While visit a haul out site for stellar sea lions, we also say black turnstones and black oyster catchers.

Black Oyster Catcher and California Gulls

After spending almost four hours patiently and quietly waiting to see Spirit Bears – a rare subspecies of black bears that is white – we saw an American Dipper. We never did see a spirit bear as the drought conditions meant that the river was very low and as a consequence the salmon were not running so the bears were not there to feed.

American Dipper
Common Loon
Great Blue Heron and Gull

– American Dipper

· Rhinocerus Auklet

· Bald eagle

· Belted kingfisher

· Black oyster catcher

· Black Turnstone

· Canada geese

· Chestnut-backed chickadee

· Common merganser

· Common murre

· Cormorants: Brandts & Pelagic

· Dark-eyed Junco

· Flycatcher

· Great blue heron

· Green wing tea

· Gulls: Bonaparte, California, Glaucous, Herring, Mew, Western

· Harlequin duck

· Loons: Common, Pacific, Red-throated

· Murrelets: Ancient, Marbled

· Osprey

· Raven

· Red neck phalange

· Red-necked grebe

· Rhinoceros Auklet

· Sandhill crane

· Saw whet owl

· Surf Scooter

· Stellar Jay

· Storm petrel

· Varied thrush

· Wilson’s phalarope

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