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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Black Bear Parade

Yesterday evening, we zoomed out for a hike during a break in the pelting cold rain. We first walked toward the road for a moment, and our leashed dogs erupted into frenzied barking. We spotted a bear who'd just crossed road and ambled away from us into the forest behind a neighbor's house. Because K vibrated and snarled with aggressive excitement and yanked on me, my photo turned out blurry.
Based on a bear so close to houses, it's not terribly surprising that a veritable bear parade was moving through Black Bear Trail, an isolated wildlife corridor deep in the forest. I'm guessing that at least three bears made appearances. The two who were obviously adults marked the sapling by scratching their backs against it. Both also used a bizarre stiff-legged gait just before and after marking the tree, where they stomped their paws hard into the ground and swung their legs out wide.

In the very first clip in the video, it looks as if the bear is hurt because of this bizarre gait. In fact, I believe that he'd just marked a tree that was barely outside my cam's detection zone and was still using his stiff-legged gait. When he arrived at the next camera, he walked normally until he was close to the marking tree. I'm calling "him" a "he" for convenience. I don't know his sex. However, I'm guessing that the two starring adults are tracking each other down by scent and may form a breeding pair.

Finally, a small bear passed one of the cams. I wish that we could see him better but his cinnamon coat makes me wonder if he's one of the yearling cubs who was in the den that I monitored this winter. That would make sense, particularly if his mom was one of the earlier bears to pass the cams. Yearlings often trail their mothers from a distance soon after the family break-up.

Enjoy the video!

On another front, K and I had a freezing bike ride in zinging cold rain interspersed with graupel, wet icy pellets. Even my tough Labrador looked a bit dubious of our outing at times.
Graupel covered her at various times, and she couldn't look up for a photo because it stung her eyes.
Most animals, aside from the parading bears, seemed to be hunkered down. However, an unfortunate Gray Jay family had fledglings who appeared to have just left the nest. They cawed insistently and tried to follow their parent from tree to tree despite their difficulty in learning to land on the slippery branches. Below, the fledgling has his beak open, raucously yelling "FOOD, FOOD, FOOD"! I hope that they survive this cold snap.
Pine boughs dripped with rain. One advantage to this rain is that it might take down all the pine pollen, averting our yearly pine pollen dust cloud that lasts for about a week. It covers everything, and I truly mean every single object, in green dust. Last year, a storm like this one washed all the pollen to the ground and we had no asthma-inducing pine pollen storm! I'm hopeful for this year...
I was glad to arrive home, and I spent a long time in a very hot shower trying to get blood to flow to my toes and fingers!


  1. Maybe there was a bear convention at the end of the trail or maybe a teddy bear's picnic:)

    Those ice pellets look almost refreshing after the heat and humidity we are having.

  2. WOW those bears looked HUGE!!

    This is the closest we have come to seeing a live bear and that's ok with us :)

    K does not look pleased in that first photo and is giving her best please let's go home look we believe.

    We were catching up on some of your posts and LOVE that pic of the pups as "bookends"! Just precious! We love catching shots like that.

    Lots of Luv & Kisses
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  3. I know just exactly how K feels about the weather!

    Great bear pics! The stiff legged gait must mean they are ready for romance.

    We stay 60s and raining here most of the time. While I don't love it, I don't love 80s more. So I just keep busy!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  4. OMG!!! That stiff legged bear walk was RIDICULOUS!!! it's doing a silly walk! I laughed out loud and had to watch it over and over again :D I thought he was going to fAll oer backwards on the sapling :)

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful video!

  5. What great pictures and video. You are so lucky to live by Smokey the Bear. B careful out there.
    Benny & Lily

  6. that was such a great watch to see your bear cam video. Thanks!

  7. Great pikhs and info!

    As for the blurred shot, I have my share of those as I attempt to snag bunny pics!

    I'm looking forward to what's yet to come!

  8. What an exciting movie! Yes, I noticed immediately the odd movement of bear #3 after rubbing against that tree. It is a strange walk after they scent! Hope the birds survive that awful storm (and hope you warmed up as well!)
    Hugs xoxoxo
    Sammie and pack of people and furanimals

  9. I had to laugh at that first picture. For some reason, what came to mind were those fuzzy Bigfoot photos that seem to make the rounds from time to time. I'm glad that you got him or her on the run, though, and that the dogs didn't get hurt. That video is great! It makes you wonder what passes for romance in a bear's eyes.

    I'm cold just looking at poor K in that graupel! It's tempting to go take a warm shower myself. Stay warm!

  10. Great video! Dat's some huge furry bear! We've never seen one except on tv. Thanks for sharing it! Must be exciting to be able to see lots of wild life and be surrounded by nature!


  11. Teddy Bear's Picnic Anyone?

    Great video and boy that looked chilly! We have had hail in NZ too!

  12. fascinating the bears urinate as part of their marking? just thinking they walk stiff legged so they don't wet themselves....:)
    so no snow, just rain and freezing rain...always crazy how one day be so beautiful and the next chance of snow! i think K prefers the sun soaked rides too!

  13. Great footage! Hope to see them in person one of these days.

    My friends are having trouble posting comments to my blog but you seem to get lots of them. any suggestions?

  14. That's a lot of bear traffic! Thanks for sharing the video. I've never seen a bear walk like that. It was interesting (and funny, as Sue said). I'm enjoying catching up. It's great to see how much biking you are fitting in.

  15. Sounds as though your weather is as crazy as it is here. Bright sun and 40 degrees one minute and hail and rain the next. Doesn't lookas though the bears are too concerned.

  16. Hi KB, I was actually wondering the same thing as KK - maybe the bears dribble some urine before and after marking? These videos are fascinating to watch. I keep gazing out my windows waiting for a bear to appear at our stream! (Also ate melon yesterday but unlike last summer, didn't put rind in garbage can inside garage - don't need a night intruder again!) We got 4" of heavy snow overnight with bent and broken aspens. Damp and chilly today. PS Graupel is one of my favorite words...Also, love that last pic.

  17. For some time I have thought that I should ask you "does it never rain in southern Colorado?" but now I can see for my self. It looks like spring here this year. Love your bear parade and your pictures as always - specially the book ends. Love EM in DK

  18. Arg! Freezing rain! The video was fascinating! Looked quite a bit like a trail we ride out of Hume Lake (Sequoia Nat For./Kings Canyon) where bears frequent. Dave's encountered a very big bear on a ride on this trail. Mom's more concerned about mtn lions!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  19. Those bears are beautiful, but I might be a bit scared if I came across one on my walk! Or two. Or a parade! They are so big! I wonder if they are going to have a secret meeting and discuss dogs!

    K, you do not look very happy running in the rain and graupel! I hope it did not sting your eyes too much!



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