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!