Grizzly bear eating grass on the shoreline

Summer Lunch

If I hadn’t seen it at close hand, I’d find it hard to believe that a huge and powerful animal like this mother grizzly bear could live on…wait for it…grass!

For three consecutive days this summer we watched, from the safety of our kayaks, as she ripped through the thick shoreline grass, at times pulling whole clumps to her mouth with her long and deadly front claws.

Her cub spent most of that time in the forest just above, occasionally emerging to play on the shore, overturning rocks and exploring the intertidal zone.

We kept our voices to a whisper and made sure we were downwind, and it seemed the bears were oblivious to us – except for once, when Momma Griz suddenly strutted down to the water and kept on coming, straight towards us. Yikes! I didn’t know we could paddle our little kayaks that fast.

By the time we dared to stop paddling and look back, we could see she wasn’t the least bit interested in us. She’d simply wanted a cooling soak in the ocean after her lengthy lunch of beach grass. Who could blame her? It was a hot summer, after all.

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About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer and writer focusing on nature and the environment

11 responses »

  1. What an amazing shot! For me, I think that your photo is about as close as I could comfortably come to one of those… I don’t think I could paddle as fast as you did!! Fabulous work here, Laurie, really enjoying following your blog!

  2. Patti Willis says:

    What a blessing to get to see this. Seems like you had one great summer!

  3. Sherry Galey says:

    Just amazing to be so close to a grizzly! Your hearts must have been pounding pretty fast. Wonderful post.

  4. ehpem says:

    Wow, what a great experience to be able to watch up close like that. Interesting about the grass too. Could she have been going for its roots?

    • Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment says:

      Perhaps, but the grass itself seemed to be the main attraction . In many of the photos I took, big clumps of grass are in her mouth. Unfortunately they’re not sharp enough to post though…I really needed a tripod – but haven’t been to figure out a way to use one in my kayak (or in our boat, either), alas! Nevertheless, it was a wonderful experience, to sit quietly for long stretches of time, watching her. My lens is only 200 mm so that will give you an idea of how close we were (though this photo is slightly cropped).

      • ehpem says:

        If you want some tips about shooting from a kayak, I would suggest that you check out Galen Leeds’ blog, if you have not already found it. It is superb nature photography, shot from a kayak with many good how-to tips. Worth looking at just for the photography, but it is much more than that. http://galenleeds.com/

        I suspect some of the answer is also found in gear, expensive gear, like fast image stabilising lenses. I would love to own a long IS lens, but they are not anywhere near my ‘budget’.

      • Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment says:

        Mine neither! Thanks for the tip on Galen Leeds, I’ll definitely check this out.

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