So far today there is no sign of the bear family in the swamp, but early this afternoon when I checked, I didn’t totally discount that they might still be there. It is pouring rain and gloomy. I could not see the mother bear yesterday (a beautiful day) once she decided to lie down – so the whole family could certainly be hunkered down in the brush and blowdowns, sleeping through the rain. I didn’t stay more than a few minutes anyway. At that point, even though I couldn’t see them, it didn’t necessarily mean they weren’t there somewhere.
The feeders were not disturbed last night, and although I half-expected to find this morning that she’d eaten what little seed was around – she did not. They either stayed in the swamp, or wandered off in another direction.
The swamp in question isn’t very big at all – less than a football field in length, and just about as wide. At one end is the driveway and the bird observatory, and at the other is some shallow water that only dries up in the dead of summer, and then an abandoned pasture with very little cover. Across the road is the Flatbrook, and then several thousand acres of Stokes State Forest – probably where she will go if she doesn’t stay on the Camp property here (there is almost 200 acres, with only about 40 being used – the rest is woods, so she certainly has the habitat here).
Another check just before writing this, at nearly 5:30 – and still no sign of the bears. Now I’m fairly certain that they moved elsewhere during the night – and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean she won’t wander through again – bears have certain territories and wandering-routes, and this is obviously one of them.
The photo below isn’t the best, but the two dark spots on the left are two cubs up the pine tree – and of course, Momma coming to check on them. I’m just beginning to appreciate how big she actually was. Huge. Magnificent.
I’m forever grateful I was able to spend the afternoon with them yesterday. It was a privilage.