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The Grizzly Details — Shiretoko National Park

JAPAN | Saturday, 7 September 2019 | Views [44]

Brown (Grizzly) Bear, Shiretoko National Park

Brown (Grizzly) Bear, Shiretoko National Park

BROWN BEARS — GRIZZLIES TO US YANKS — were on everyone's minds.  Scores of weekend visitors— I didn’t realize it was Saturday until I saw the buses — hoped to see one of Shiretoko National Park’s Yezo brown bears.  The park rangers, hoping to prevent an encounter, insisted on a mandatory ten-minute Japanese video on “bear essentials” with English subtitles followed by a lecture with vis-aids, all in Japanese.  We couldn’t understand that part but judging by the laughter, it probably included the standard bear joke punchlines . . .  “I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to be faster than you!”


 The Bear Essentials




                        White-Backed Woodpecker

Anyhow, mission accomplished! By the time we were allowed on the trail, nearly everyone was scared s#%t-less, yours truly excepted.  We’ve been around grizzlies in Alaska and Canada and are well-schooled in how to avoid confrontations.  Once on the trail the other hikers, some with bells jingling, felt obligated to be louder than normal, clapping regularly, successfully repelling the bruins.   As the groups spread out we found enough space on the trail to enjoy ourselves.  Our only new bird was a white-backed woodpecker but the trail was nice and colorful mushrooms were plentiful.  


       Good Fishing but not much Catching

The ninety kilometer drive from Abashiri to Shiretoko follows the coast along the Sea of Okhotsk before climbing into the mountains.  Fishing, both commercial and recreational, is obviously a big deal.  I thought that there would be a lot of friction between the  commercial netters and the surf fishermen, operating as close as they do, but there must be plenty of salmon for everyone.  Most of the surf fishermen had multiple rods, with tight lines out to sea.  It must be mayhem when a school of fish comes in.


   Here, Fishy Fishy


              You can run but you can't hide


                              Thought I had him!

The young Yezo brown bear we saw was practicing a more conventional method of fishing.  While we stood on the bridge, he splashed along chasing salmon, alternating snout in the water or standing tall looking for fish.  Like the men on the beach, he wasn't having much luck.  That’s why they call it “fishing” not “catching.”


       White-Tailed Eagle

Perhaps this white-tailed eagle was more successful.



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Dressed for Success, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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