Most Excellent Adventure

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.

mama2

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!

treed1

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.

treed2

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….

7 Responses to “Most Excellent Adventure”

  1. John Says:

    Wow – a bear! I guess anyone walking in that swamp will have to be extra careful this spring.

  2. Ruth Says:

    What and experience! The cubs are so cute. Hmm, I wonder if you will feel brave enough to stand outside the open door of your car tomorrow to take your shots? I remember visiting game reserves in South Africa as a child. My father seemed so brave getting out of our car to take pictures of lions and rhinos.

  3. mon@rch Says:

    Very cool! I have heard a few bears have been out but I have not come across any! I might have found a bear print today but details were washed away by the rain! Ugg, count those nets gone if the bears get anywhere close to them!

  4. Laura Says:

    So, are you gonna move that net line?

  5. Lynne Says:

    WOW!! Those are awesome pictures. I’ve never seen bear cubs in the wild. Thanks for showing them. I hope you get more tomorrow.

  6. KGMom Says:

    Four cubs? One mama and four cubs. Is that unusual? It seems so to me, but then I am not a biologist.
    But, I agree, how wonderful to be able to observe–at a safe distance, of course.
    I look forward to more pics.

  7. obi4240 Says:

    John – I’m sure she won’t stay around too long, if she hasn’t left already. Swamp’s just not that big

    Ruth – umm…no. Staying in the Jeep. Just call me chicken…actually I don’t want to disturb her more than necessary at the moment.

    Monarch – no nets up yet, fortunately, but you’re right. Nets and bears wouldn’t mix well.

    Laura – probably not. I don’t think she’s going to stay long. You can bet I’ll be very careful about sitting and watching before opening said nets though.

    Lynne – I wish I could have gotten better ones, but using a zoom without a tripod isn’t so great. I’ll be better prepared if there’s a next time..

    KGMom – as far as I know, bears can have up to 5 cubs, but 1 to 3 is the norm. I’m pretty sure four is unusual…


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