BearHead Photography Whale, Otter, Weasel, and Elephant Pictures
BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on mammals of North America, and here are pictures of whales, sea and river otters, weasels, and porcupines.
Humpback whales are a huge whale that only show off their tail when they are going to dive. They can hold their breath for over 30 minutes and surface miles from where they dove from. This whale had come fairly close to us while following the fish it was dieting on, and then dove on a calm Alaskan morning. Edition of 40.
Humpback whales are usually a solitary animal. The only time they will be with other whales, is during mating season and when food is at its peak. These whales dove at the same time in hopes of rounding up little herring fish. Edition of 40.
Finding an ermine in the winter is not an easy task. Finding a small white animal in a land of snow is like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Fortunately, this little guy came out of his hole right when we were going by and my friend spotted him. When he first saw us it just stood there to try and figure out what we were. Edition of 40.
This part of the creek was around four feet wide. Too far for an ermine to easily jump across. After looking good for the first part of the jump, it started to fall. It spread out its legs to try and glide the rest of the way across the creek. Edition of 40.
All at Once
There is a very small time of the year when humpback whales feed together. Some years it can last less than 2 weeks for when the whales bubble net feed. They will circle around the herring and blow bubbles and create a wall of bubbles. The herring don't know they can swim through the bubbles and become trapped. The whales then come up through the middle with their mouths open, and have a meal of herring. Edition of 40.
Humpbacks are a massive whale, and can reach up to 70 feet long. It isn't known exactly why humpbacks jump fully out of the water, but there are some good educated guesses. This whale was part of a fishing group of humpbacks that were not having much success. It likely was a little upset and decided to jump out of the water to release some frustration. Edition of 40.
Leaning Against Mother
While in the tall jungle plants, I didn't even know there was a baby elephant. Mom came rushing out of the jungle and onto the dry river bed. Soon after, her little one followed and leaned against her for comfort. Edition of 40.
When two herds of elephants approached each other I wasn't sure what was going to happen. These two young males graciously greeted each other and the other elephants mingled as if they had been together the whole time. Edition of 40.
River otters are truly an animal that likes to have fun. When I see them, they always seem to be smiling and enjoying themselves. This otter would swim under the ice to a small opening a couple hundred yards down stream, and then run and slide on his belly back to his family. A video of this otter sliding went viral. Edition of 40.
River otters are such a fun animal to watch in the wild. They are unpredictable, and more often than not they look like they are having the best time. This family play wrestled for a very long time, and never seemed to tire of playing. One of these otters is the famous otter from my otter video sliding on its belly that went viral. Edition of 40.
Badgers in the snow stick out pretty bad, because they are a dark animal. It's not often that they are found in the winter. This one was walking around carefully through the bushes, attempting to blend in. Edition of 40.
There are few things in nature more fun to watch than an otter family. They cannot stay still and are always on the go. The family was pruning each other when something caught their attention and they all looked at the same time. Edition of 40.
Watching a group of humpbacks fish together is quite the site. They are normally a solitary animal, and fish by themselves. However, when the herring population reaches its peak, the whales come together for a feeding frenzy called bubble feeding. All of a sudden, anywhere from 5-12, humpbacks appear out of the water with their mouths open and inhale the herring. Edition of 40.
Sea turtles have been known to hold their breath for 5 hours. They spend almost their entire lives exclusively in the water. On land they are very slow animals and have no real reason to go onto land, unless you're a female and going to lay eggs. Edition of 40.
Pine marten are a very hard animal to photograph. I have seen many in my life, but most sightings only last a couple seconds and then they disappear. After running a while, this marten climbed a tree and looked back at me in the forest. I was so excited that it climbed a tree and gave me a second to capture a photo! Edition of 40.
Sea otters are very easy going animals most of the time. They lay on their back and rest, or eat clams and mussels they have brought up from the ocean floor. This young otter was stretching out from a nap, and it looked like it was about to clap its paws. Edition of 40.
Orcas are a beautiful whale, and can swim hundreds of miles a day. There are many pods that are transients, and roam whatever waters they choose. This pod of orcas was a resident pod in southeast Alaska, and were seen off and on. They don't normally swim right beside each other, but they did this one time with the dramatic Alaskan mountains behind them. Edition of 40.
Humpback whales have many ways of expressing themselves. They will jump, fin slap, and tail slap at different times. When they tail slap, they don't jump out of the water, they just stick the lower half of their body out of the water and forcefully slap it back down against the water. Edition of 40.
River otters follow the river, even when it freezes over. They can swim large distances without needing to come up for air. Here, a snow drift had covered the river and this otter decided to come up to look for any danger nearby. Edition of 40.
If I was a river otter, winter would be my favorite season. They get to run and slide on the snow and ice. They will create a tunnel in the snow for them to slide down, like human kids do in the winter. These three otters all slide down this slide, and as the last came down it rolled over on its back to slide into its sibling. Edition of 40.
River otters are very playful animals. They roll over each other and play all the time. These two had just got out of the creek and were licking the other one clean before going back in the river. Edition of 40.
Beluga whales move into the turnagain arm following the salmon in high tide. As the tide begins to flow out they have to leave the shallow waters. Here a couple of belugas venture back out to sea. Edition of 40.
While in India I really wanted to see a wild cobra. This black cobra ventured into the resort I was staying at and that excited me. The moment I saw it I had massive respect for it, and it had an aura surrounding it that was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Edition of 40.
Humpback whales flock to southeast Alaska during the summer to feed. The summer in Alaska is the only time they feed all year, and they can feed up to 23 hours a day. When the herring fish reaches the peak of the summer, humpback whales form groups to fish in and will bubble net feed. Less than 10% of all humpbacks know how to do this, and it only happens for two weeks or less in the summer. After circling the herring, the whales breach with their mouths open and inhale the herring. Edition of 40.
Pine martens are an incredibly hard animal to find. And once you do find them, they are hard to keep up with because they never stay still. I was fortunate this pine marten decided to come check me out before bounding away and disappearing in the snow. Edition of 40.
Land iguanas do not move around much in the morning. They have to wait on the sun to warm their body before they can become active. They even hardly move off a trail when people walk by. They are very yellowish and larger than the marine iguanas. Edition of 40.
Monkeys are very playful animals and bounce around from place to place. There were a couple of rocks that they particularly liked to jump between in this area. In the late evening, it looked as if this monkey was trying to catch his shadow. Edition of 40.
Elephants come in all different sizes. They can become so large it is hard to imagine an animal being that big, to being incredibly small when they are born. As these three elephants walked in stride, it showed how each was in a different stage of growth. Edition of 40.
Going for It
Ermine are little weasels that turn white in the winter. They are very quick and hard to keep up with. This ermine was really moving around a lot, and really went for it with this jump over the snow drifts. Edition of 40.
River otters are a very playful animal. After swimming in the freezing water for a long time, this otter finally got out to play and clean himself. He would roll around in the snow and have the best of time, and when he would look up his face would often be covered in snow. Edition of 40.
During the winter it is rare to see a pika. During the summer and fall they collect leaves, grass, and other greenery to survive under the rocks and snow all winter. It was surprising to see this pika in the heart of the winter in Yellowstone. Edition of 40.
Watching otters swim in the water is so much fun! They are very fast and are unpredictable. This otter was just out for an evening swim and enjoying itself in the last light of the day. Edition of 40.
Fish for Dinner
When an otter goes fishing, it is intense. They attack the fish with a vengeance and don't give up until they catch one. In this shallow stream, this otter caught a cutthroat trout after a few minutes and was trying to get it to shore to eat. Edition of 40.
The sally lightfoot crabs are fun to watch move around the rocks. They are not very scared of anything and will actually climb over iguanas and eat things from their backs. They are everywhere in the Galapagos and very colorful. Edition of 40.
A Sneaky Look
Long-tailed weasels never stay in one place very long. They are very fast, and also very aggressive. This weasel had gone down this ground squirrel burrow and didn't find any, so it was looking around up top for others. Edition of 40.
During the heat of the day the monitor lizards will take it easy. Even in the shade of the jungles it can be very hot. This lizard was doing a little sunbathing before heading out in the evening. Edition of 40.
Orcas do not jump out of the water very often. They are very skilled swimmers and work well in a team when hunting. Sometimes, though, one will just stick the upper half of its body out of the water while hunting to try and see where its prey has gone. Edition of 40.
River otters are master fishermen. This evening it seemed like every time an otter went down, it came back with a fish. This mother decided to swim to shore to eat, and one of her pups followed her hoping to get some of the food. Edition of 40.
During the summer, the collared pika has to gather and store food for the winter. They don't hibernate, but stay underneath the snow all winter and eat their supply of grasses and greenery. It takes hundreds of trips like these to survive all winter. Edition of 40.
It's amazing how few porcupines I see for how much of the year I spend in the woods. While on a trail this porcupine came out and was not going to move because of me. It was nice to finally see a clear view of a porcupine. Edition of 40.
The marine iguana of the Galapagos is unique to other iguanas in that it can live and forage in the sea. It has no problem diving down up to 30 feet and eating algae off the rocks while holding on with its claws. They are much smaller than the land iguanas in the Galapagos. Edition of 40.
I don't think I've ever seen an unhappy otter. I've seen some playing and fighting each other, but it still looks like they have a smile on their face. This guy was having a relaxing evening and just enjoying his clams and slowly eating them while swimming backwards. Edition of 40.
A Curious Look
An ermine is definitely not a large animal. When it is on all fours, it is only a couple inches tall. It was curious about us humans trying to photograph it, so it came closer and stood up to investigate us a little. Edition of 40.
Seeing a group of humpback whales together is such a neat sighting. Most of the year they swim alone, and don't want to be near other whales. But when the feeding is at the peak, they come together to be able to eat more at once. Watching 12 whales swim along the coast and see the vapor from their breaths is exciting. Edition of 40.
Otters are such a fun animal to watch. They are very playful with each and like to roll around in the snow. You just never know what they are going to do next. After some serious playing, this one decided it was time to relax and leaned against its friend. Edition of 40.
We found this turtle heading to a large patch of greenery. They will come on land if they know of a really good place to eat. This turtle weighed around 100 pounds and he can grow to much larger than that. Edition of 40.
The Little Things
All over Denali are ground squirrels. Bears will even chase these animals to have a snack. As night was beginning to come, this squirrel was checking the area to make sure no predators were around. Edition of 40.