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Red in Tooth and Claw 2

Red in Tooth and Claw 2
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-07
Categories: Mammals, Birds
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): some blood, but it's nature, Franz Josef Land, CeltickRanger's favorite Bear photos, Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), The predator with the Prey 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-06-19 7:47
Viewed: 9389
Points: 68
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello everyone - I am afraid this is another 'nature in the raw' shot. However, this has to happen for the bears to live. The shot shows a polar bear dragging its kill away from the ice-breaker which was crashing through the ice (shot taken with a 10D + 300mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter). The bear was able to hunt easily on the decaying ice. Following the bear are two ivory gulls and a glaucous gull. I do not know what species of seal it was - I didn't get that close!

The polar bear is the most carnivorous member of the bear family, and most of its diet consists of Ringed and Bearded Seals. The Arctic is home to millions of seals, which become prey when they surface in holes in the ice in order to breathe, or when they haul out on the ice to rest. Polar bears hunt primarily at the interface between ice, water, and air; they only rarely catch seals on land or in open water.

The polar bear's most common hunting method is called still-hunting: The bear uses its excellent sense of smell to locate a seal breathing hole, and crouches nearby in silence for a seal to appear. When the seal exhales, the bear smells its breath, reaches into the hole with a forepaw, and drags it out onto the ice. The polar bear kills the seal by biting its head to crush its skull. The polar bear also hunts by stalking seals resting on the ice: Upon spotting a seal, it walks to within 100 yd (91 m), and then crouches. If the seal does not notice, the bear creeps to within 30 to 40 feet (9.1 to 12 m) of the seal and then suddenly rushes forth to attack. A third hunting method is to raid the birth lairs that female seals create in the snow.

A widespread legend tells that polar bears cover their black noses with their paws when hunting. This behavior, if it happens, is rare — although the story exists in native oral history and in accounts by early Arctic explorers, there is no record of an eyewitness account of the behavior in recent decades.

Mature bears tend to eat only the calorie-rich skin and blubber of the seal, whereas younger bears consume the protein-rich red meat. For subadult bears which are independent of their mother but have not yet gained enough experience and body size to successfully hunt seals, scavenging the carcasses from other bears' kills is an important source of nutrition. Subadults may also be forced to accept a half-eaten carcass if they kill a seal but cannot defend it from larger polar bears. After feeding, polar bears wash themselves with water or snow.

The Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea is a small gull, the only species in its genus. It breeds in the high arctic and has a circumpolar distribution through Greenland, northernmost North America, and Eurasia.

It migrates only short distances south in autumn, most of the population wintering in northern latitudes at the edge of the pack ice, although some birds reach more temperate areas.

This species is easy to identify. At 43 cm (17 in), it has a different, more pigeon-like shape than the Larus gulls, but the adult has completely white plumage, lacking the grey back of other gulls. The thick bill is blue with a yellow tip, and the legs are black. Its cry is a harsh eeeer. Young birds have a dusky face and variable amounts of black flecking in the wings and tail. The juveniles take two years to attain full adult plumage.

Ivory Gull breeds on Arctic coasts and cliffs, laying one to three olive eggs in a ground nest lined with moss, lichens, or seaweed. It takes fish and crustaceans, but is also an opportunist scavenger, often found on seal or porpoise corpses. It has been known to follow polar bears and other predators to feed on the remains of their kills (in my experience - see a polar bear and you normally see two ivory gulls).

The Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus is a large gull which breeds in the Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere and the Atlantic coasts of Europe. It is migratory, wintering from in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans as far south as the British Isles and northernmost states of the USA, also on the Great Lakes. A few birds sometimes reach the southern USA and northern Mexico.

This species breeds colonially or singly on coasts and cliffs, making a lined nest on the ground or cliff. Normally, 2-4 light brown eggs with dark chocolate splotches are laid.

This is a large and powerful gull, very pale in all plumages, with no black in the wings or tail. Adults are pale grey above, with a thick yellow bill. Immatures are very pale grey with a pink and black bill. This species is larger and thicker billed than the similar Iceland Gull, and is as large as the Great Black-backed Gull. They take four years to reach maturity. The call is a "laughing" cry like Herring Gull.

These are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey. These birds forage while swimming or walking, also may pick up items off water or catch small birds while flying. They often follow fishing boats and are one of the most predatory gulls.


marhowie, uleko, haraprasan, Royaldevon, jaycee, PaulGana, eng55, Dis. Ac., eqshannon, SelenE, gracious, boreocypriensis, CeltickRanger, rcrick, jusninasirun, vanderschelden, Heaven, avallaunius, goldyrs, cicindela, sranjan, Nephrotome2, corjan3, peter_stoeckl has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
very cold placeswinterpalace 1 12-14 06:58
To joey: 10DJamesp 1 06-19 14:18
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-06-19 8:11]

Hello James,
It must be wonderful to have so many fabulous captures in your archive to resort to! This is a fantastic capture of the Polar Bear carrying its kill that is essential for its survival! I hope indeed that the ice won't melt away too much. The Gulls complete this fantastic scene! Excellent Composition showing great sharpness and natural colours! A very interesting note too!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

Hi James,
What a dreadful capture. But it is nature that's all. Superb composition with excellent details. That's all I have to say here. Thanks a lot for sharing this stunning shot.

Hello James,

Informative notes, as usual!
Brutal but natural to the existance of predators.
A great shot, nicely composed.
Is that a gull taking advantage of the kill?

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-06-19 9:06]

Hello James,
Very impressive to see a scene like this in the wild. What an adventure!
Great composition in excellent sharpness and natural colours. The Gulls are a real bonus.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-06-19 9:14]

Hi James,

I think I would enjoy a month of looking through your archives. What wonders must be in there. Fantastic shot and excellent notes to go along with it. A most effective sight of this bear dragging its prey leaving the trail of blood. Interesting to see the gulls benefiting as well.


wow, that is one bloody mess he has left, golly looks like I am going to have to mop up his mess now ;-)

Amazing find, must have been quite the experience

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-06-19 11:25]

Hi James,
Very nice capture from wildlife.POV,framing and composition are perfect.Thanks for posting.

Hello James,

What an amazing archive you have!
Wonderfull shot of this bear and very good pov.


It forms a path or a letter perhaps and the eye wanders through the whole path. A fascinating image...not quite as bloody as some I have seen and well within nature at it's best....

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-06-19 12:40]

Hi James,
A precious wildlife photo. So natural... Thanks for sharing this
All the best,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-06-19 12:49]

Hi james. Reading your notes and looking at the picture shows the streanth of the Polar Bear. Nature again every part gets eaten and the gull get food as well. well done TFS.

Hello James,
This is part of nature for the bear to survive and it's life in the their region!
good pov with very good sharpness, natural colour and details!
very good to include the Ivory gulls in the image!
many thanks for the sharing

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-06-19 14:14]

Hello James,
You provide us with so many images from all around the world
that is hard not to admire you, and this is what I do my friend
Great image of survival, is hard to believe that these Bears
are in the verge of instinction.. Thank you for doing a
wonderful job.. Very well done


Hi my friend James, another perfect shot of a natural reality. You captured this scenery in a film taste. Great DOF and POV. Superb shot in all aspects my friend! TFS.


Hi James,

Excellent image "Nature in the raw" composition is perfect, superb detail, wonderful lighting, and the Gull in the lower left just completes a perfect picture, really well done,

Cheers Rick :)

Hello James. I like this wide shot giving out the pleasant perspective. The gull adds balance to this sharp image. Regards. Jusni

Well done, James.
A lot of different animals involved here and they are all connected. The red line is raw but very effective in creating depth(and death)in your work
Wonderful image and thanks for sharing it..

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-06-19 23:03]

Hi James!

I think it's important also to show the other side of nature. We sometimes forget the cruel aspect. Maybe even the word "cruel" is wrong because it's just natural that a bear kills for his food.

The picture is captivating, well composed and very impressive.

Kind regards


  • Great 
  • clnaef Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 778 W: 67 N: 645] (6814)
  • [2008-06-19 23:16]

Jolie composition presque monochrome et qui rend bien l'idée d'immensité de la région.
Bonne journée.

Hi James
A wonderful nature shot in the wild. Nicely composed with the blood trail forming a leading line into the image and to the polar bear.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-06-20 2:16]

Hello James, Wonderful and superb natural shots. The capture of this bear carrying its food for survival is excellently presented. WEll done. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-06-20 12:54]
  • [+]

Hi James,
aa gruesome but awesome image.
This really shows the strength of Polar Bear, dragging a seal which is probably twice as heavy as a man effortessly across slippy ice! :-)
Very good quality.
I love the cool tones.
Superb composition.
Excellent notes too.

Well done, James!


p.s I've emailed you back!

Hi James,

Great shot and well titled. Cycle of life and all that - we'd be equally sad if we saw a half starved polar bear. Great composition and light. This really is a classic.


hello James

WOW ! this is another of your shots that could be published
in Natural Geographic, and for that blood, as you say :
« this has to happen for the bears to live »

great shot of the wild nature life, with fine POV, DOF
and framing, great animal the polar bear, because of
the bllod i found easylly the one of the gulls,
i had to search a little bit for the other one, TFS


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-21 21:40]

Hello James

This is brilliant.
does this tell a story? It tells three.
Wonderful contrast and colour.
A polar bear on the ice floes and you manage bright red...wow.
The way the blood streaks in the manner it does adds so much to this image.
It is powerful to look at.
The little gull at the spot of the kill adds so much to this image.
Great job.


This is a lovely shot, James...And it's as if the entire shot has been over dramatized by the startling colour of blood!
Very well done!

Hello James,
Cruel but natural :) I like this picture a lot, not only because of its documentary character but also because of composition and colours :)
TFS and best regards,

Reality...and well done. Thank you for sharing this us.
Wonderful shot.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-06-24 11:52]

Hi James,
Wonderful documentary shot and I like the way the bear is dragging its kill all along those patches of floating ice to a secured place. The blood forms a fine track and what is that little bird doing there? Very neat and sharp image with great control of light and exposure levels. Excellent POV and composition. Kudos.

Dear James,
The bloody trail takes you to the culprit; this incredible polar bear ! Amazing capture & POV.

Great shot! You have travelled to this harsh place to get this shot, which itself is praiseworthy. The red on the bg of white looks , as u said, 'raw'. Great work.

you really have an impressive list of countries that you've visited.
I envy you!!

This is a superb 'raw nature' pic....i absolutely love this one.



HI James

A wonderful ''sequence'' of events.

You must be the most travelled member in TrekNature!



Hello James,
Very good photo with much information and excellent note.

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