Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cycle of Life

Midday temperature: 56 degrees, overcast.   A south wind of 10-15 miles an hour has been blowing much of the day but subsided to a light breeze in the early afternoon.           

Bear Lake is located just north of Seward, Map of Bear Lake Alaska in the northern coastal rainforest of the Kenai Peninsula.  Our home is on the south shore of lake, which gives us spectacular views of mountains, forest, wildlife and the constantly changing weather.  As the seasons progress through the cycle of the year it is our intent share what we do and learn living in this place we are lucky to call home.  
            Today for example, I was awaked to the sound of loons sounding their alarm call as the eagles dove to attack them.   The loons avoided the eagles this time but the pursuit will go on all summer.  Last year, we watched this pair of loons rear a chick on the lake, which meant they spent the summer fending off attaches by eagles trying to make a meal of that young loon.  When the eagles approach, loons sound an alarm and position themselves between the baby and the attacking eagle, even lunging out of the water to strike at a diving eagle.  The loon adult is as big or bigger than an adult eagle and has the distinct advantage over eagle once that diving eagle hits the water.  One can only wonder at the energy each of them expend in this battle on the lake. 
            The red (sockeye) salmon are jumping as they migrate in to the lake to spam.  They return to Resurrection Bay starting early in June and work their way up the river system to Bear Creek and through that to our Bear Lake.  50- 60 bald eagles patrol the lakeshore attracted by the hoards of salmon but more than ready to settle for loon, or duck.  The eagles seem to make most of their meals cleaning up after the brown bears that harvest the salmon in the lake.  Yes, the brown bears are here too.  We’ve seen two different bears so far this month fishing the south shore of the lake.  One is no more that two and may be only one year old.  It has an injury to a hind leg and when we saw it Father’s Day it was getting around on three legs.   More on this later, I hope.      Dan