After some good birding this morning along the Old Mine Road, I decided to return to the observatory and take a look at the net lane in the swamp where the first banding will take place after this next storm passes through. Fortunately, I decided to drive down there instead of walk…even though it is the net lane closest to the observatory building.
This big old bear was sitting in the swamp, about 30 feet from the net lane. What I didn’t expect was the little black blob that was dancing around her feet. Actually – as it turned out, there were four little black blobs!
It is difficult to tell by these photos, which aren’t all that great (hard to take a zoom photo using a half-opened window for a tripod) but these cubs are very small – about the size of a small cocker spaniel.
I spent hours watching them today. I have a feeling their den is very close to the net lane – cubs this small wouldn’t be traveling that far this early. The bears were very clearly ‘at home’ in that area. Mama spent most of the time sleeping. I was amazed how she blended and disappeared into the brush. This swamp is not that big – I could see the guard rail and traffic from Flatbrook Road behind her.
The cubs, on the other hand, were very active, playing with each other and climbing trees. Shortly after the camera batteries went completely dead, one of the cubs climbed up on momma’s back and sat on her shoulders, looking out between her ears.
I’m charging up the batteries, and will return tomorrow to see if they are still around. If they are, I apparently will not be banding in the swamp any time soon….