Great Bear Rainforest – Blurred boundary between air, land and water
Maple Leaf Naturalist Briony Penn Reflects on Our Recent Great Bear Rainforest Tour in June 2010
by naturalist Briony Penn
photos, from the trip, by Greg Shea (eagle) and Kevin J. Smith (bear)
The division between air, land and water is often blurred in the Great Bear Rainforest as animals move between the three, but during this June trip, it seemed as if there were no boundaries at all.
At a mainland inlet, we watched a bald eagle fall out of the sky onto a feeding scoter, and then swim half a kilometre with the thrashing duck in its talons to the other side.
At the top end of Gribbell Island, we watched a deer swimming hard across the channel as the wolves sat at the beach and watched their disappearing prey. (The wolves will swim, too, but not that day.)
A herring ball off Banks Island had bald eagles, herring, rhino auklets and orcas all appearing to move seamlessly between sky and sea.
And at another mainland inlet, we watched grizzlies paddling between salt marsh meadows while feeding on sedges, looking like the Stellar sea lion as they swim with snouts in the air.
It isn’t hard to imagine, the evolutionary steps that many of these creatures have already taken from sea to land, land to air and air to sea.