The final morning of the safari had a very nice surprise in store for us. We woke to an awesome snowfall, which added drastically to the atmosphere of the photos! To make the morning a little more special, a japanese serow made an appearance midway through the snowfall. This awkward looking antelope foraged on the cliffs above us for a solid hour before heading back into the hills. The snow monkeys were as obliging as ever, and had all concentrated in the hot spring because of the cold weather. All in all, it was the perfect way to end an amazing safari!
The day kicked off with us boarding an ice-breaker boat en route to see some very cool eagles. We had an incredible two and a half hours with the magnificent stellar sea eagles, white-tailed eagles and hundreds of gulls that had pretty much surrounded the boat. It was an amazing photographic experience having so much choice, with so much action happening almost constantly. Disembarking, we had a relaxed day, and caught up on some rest and quick image processing, before heading out for a real treat. We tried our luck attempting to photograph a very rare bird, the Blackiston’s fish owl. We were rewarded for our (rather chilly) efforts with two visits by the magnificent bird, and even better, we managed to get some images!
Before travelling up to our next stop, we spent the morning back at the river where the red crowned cranes sleep and, with the conditions being even better than before, made for a brilliant morning of photography! Things got even better when a pair of red foxes ran out right in front of the birds, and started mating, much to the amusement of one of the cranes which came up to the bank to have a look at all the commotion. After the action from the river came to an end, we spent a very productive hour back at the crane sanctuary, where some smaller birds found their way into the cameras viewfinders, adding to our species list, as well as the prized cranes.
We woke up to beautiful clear skies, and it seems the good weather brought the bears out! We spent a solid four hours in the company of the great bears, which filled the memory cards in all the cameras. A red fox made a brief appearance, and a small flock of the elusive ptarmigans showed themselves after being flushed by one of the bears.
Major sightings of the day:
Five different polar bears. The real magic was spending four hours of the day with the bears close by.