So there I was just sat in the tented office having a small night-cap which consisted of a hot Chocolate (with a small splash of Baileys Irish Cream & another splash of Jameson treble distilled Irish Whisky) when I started to get this uncomfortable feeling, I felt on edge and so I decided to have a scan of the surrounding area. Pretty much straight away I noticed this Brown Bear walking towards field camp. I felt uncomfortable and then decided to have another scan just to re-confirm it was a Bear and I wasn't seeing things or even worse mistaking a Caribou. It was at this point that I realised that this was a serious issue. I woke HRG and she cooly and calmly observed what was going on. The bear was on the the Island area of camp lagoon.
We observed from the Field Camp and I have to admit I felt extremely uncomfortable with the whole situation and it is still only the first full day of being on the Tundra.
After I finished recording the above clip the Bear began walking straight for camp, we both had our shotguns ready but HRG had loaded up with warning crackers and then she said the words that will always stay with me " Okay Bear now your just to close for comfort" with this she fired a warning shot cracker and then the bear ran across the frozen lagoon and as it stopped and re-looked round at camp she fired again. The Bear then continued to run across the pack ice of the lagoon. It was at this point we were both relieved. We made a hot drink and as I took another scan out over the lake, lagoon and Tundra I noticed a small family group of Caribou south of Camp out on the Tundra. All this activity was going on around camp between 02:00 - 04:00hrs.
After watching the Caribou time was well gone 04:00hrs . We called it a day and headed off, I was tired but got in my Sleeping bag and tried to get warm, I lay there cold and thought of the Bear encounter and know that basically I lay under a sheet of Canvass, but I have both the shotgun and pepper spray nearby. I drift off to sleep at the sound of Pacific Divers calling throughout and Dunlin singing during display flight song.
We awoke late today as it had been a late night. I washed in the lake and as I brush my teeth and I watch 5 Sabines Gulls walking around the ice packs, this gives an indication of how cold the water is. It certainly wakes me up fast and washes away the cobwebs. Then I notice a Bar Tailed Godwit feeding on the ice. This is a strange concept and as you can see the Barwit is actually feeding and finding food, possibly frozen from last fall and just found as the ice starts to melt.
I enjoy the Sabines Gulls at Field camp. We have Breakfast and HRG makes the daily check in phone call via the satellite phone in to the office in Anchorage to let them know we are safe. She explains about the Bear encounter and she is advised that we are to stay in the area of Field camp today and we stay together. We were praised for our correct actions and told that if we have any more Bear encounters we may be pulled out of camp on safety grounds. So we venture out just around the camp area, we check out the lakes and the main Tundra area. We find a Dunlin Nest with a fresh clutch of 4 eggs and also nests of both Semi Palmated and Western Sandpipers. We also find the nest with 2 eggs of the Arctic Skua next to camp.
The above video is from early on in the day. These Long Billed Dowitchers are pretty cool to just sit and study for a few hours as they feed with Dunlin, Western and Semi Palmated Sandpipers close by, all on the Shoreline..