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Waterton Lakes National Park
Black Bear
Ursus americanus
Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
southern Alberta
near Canada-US border
Red Rock Canyon Parkway
© Anne Elliott 2017
wild animal
9 July 2017

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Beautiful blonde Black Bear

Beautiful blonde Black Bear
On our very last morning in Waterton, on our way out of the park in order to return to Calgary, friend Darlene and I had this wonderful sighting for just a few minutes. This blonde form Black Bear was taking a swim way down below us in the valley. It's difficult to be sure from my photos, but it looks like the head is a darker brown. This might be the result of shadow, but I suspect it actually was darker. A treat to not only see the bear, but a blond one.

"Black bears are more common in Waterton than grizzly bears. Despite their name, they come in a wide variety of colours. Black bears are occasionally seen on open slopes, in forested areas, along roadsides and in campgrounds. They lack a hump on their shoulders, and have a straight facial profile.

They have short curved claws and are agile tree climbers. The black bear's diet includes grasses, roots, and berries. Carrion, insects and mammals also make up a small percentage of their diet. Their hearing and eyesight are good but their sense of smell is acute and as a result this is the sense they rely on most often.

Healthy populations of both black bears and grizzlies indicate that there are likely enough high quality, secure habitats and travel corridors to preserve hundreds of other species that depend on the same healthy ecosystem for their survival.

Most of Waterton's visitors never see a bear, but all of the park and surrounding areas are bear country. Bears foraging on human food or garbage become less fearful of people, and more dangerous." From a Government of Canada website.


I can vouch for bears being seen in campsites!! Around 9:00 pm on our first evening at the camp (7 July), about three of us were standing near the main building, when we suddenly saw a Black Bear walking along the edge of the trees. Two of us had just walked through those trees to go down to the river. When I was there a year ago for the same weekend, we knew that a Black Bear was seen at our camp, but I didn't see it. I think it was our second evening this year that a Black Bear (presumably the same one) was seen walking by the cabins, too. In the morning of our third and last day there, a young Park Warden was called to go and deal with a bear in the campground down the road from us. Trust me, there is nothing like having to get up in the middle of the night and cross a large gravel area in pitch black to get to the washroom, wondering if the bear is anywhere nearby!!

Late afternoon on 9 July 2017, I arrived back home from a wonderful three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park. I had just been on a one-day bus trip to this beautiful park on 24 June 2017, so felt very lucky to be returning for a longer stay so soon. I travelled there and back with friend, Darlene, who had very kindly offered to take me, and we had a fun time, seeing so many interesting things. Thank you SO much, Darlene - I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciated being able to go on this trip with you!

Three days of 32C temperatures, and then I arrived home to find that my thermostat read 29C inside my home. I am not good at dealing with the heat and then to walk and hike in such temperatures was exhausting. Back in Calgary, we had already been having a heatwave, but today, 11 July, it rained and temporarily cooled down, thank goodness.

It was wonderful to again be surrounded by such magnificent scenery, go on a few walks/hikes with plenty of time to look for, and photograph, wildflowers, insects, and a few birds and animals. Lots of good company with around 20 (?) people, some of whom I already knew and lots of new faces, too. The trip was organized by Nature Calgary. Everyone was free to go wherever they wanted each day, but for the two nights, we stayed at the very basic but adequate Canyon Church Camp, off the Red Rock Parkway. Dorm-style cabins (about which I will say nothing, lol!), but they do have showers and even flush toilets at the camp. We were fed SO well - lots of variety and good food. We were given two breakfasts and two suppers, plus a packed lunch for the two days. Our huge thanks go out to Jean Kennedy, the camp cook, who cooked and prepared these great meals for us! Jean was there in 2015 and 2016, when I attended this weekend, and it was really good news when I was told that she would be there again this time. The food was so much enjoyed and greatly appreciated!

Our huge thanks to Andrew for organizing this trip so brilliantly! He has been organizing these annual weekends for a number of years now. A great time was had by all.

PierreG_09 club
Une rare rencontre.
Well captured.
2 years ago.

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