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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer! And, bears...

We've rocketed directly from snow and freezing temperatures to summer. There is no springtime in the mountains. Glorious blue skies, sunshine, and temperatures in the 70's. Days to savor...

My friend the bobcat who appeared in my post two days ago showed up again directly in front of my wildlife camera. You can see from the look in his eyes that he had a plan for this visit. His plan was to reclaim his territory from me.
In the next photo, Bob the cat was peeing in exactly the spot where I kneel to check my camera. When I arrived the morning after his visit, the ground was still wet and the branches of small shrubs were still soaked in urine. I didn't notice the wet area until I'd knelt in it. I must have reeked of bobcat urine for the rest of my bike ride, an occupational hazard for a wildlife camera nut. Bob wins this round!

K and I have been enjoying summertime bike rides together. Although I didn't mention it, I was really worried about her a few days ago. We tried a tiny bit of agility practice for the first time since her initial paw surgery last September. The next day, K was limping and acting sad.

However, after I gave her a day off from any vigorous exercise, she's been zooming around like a young puppy during bike rides. Her paws seem to be working beautifully!
K, also known as "Goody Four-Paws", has even been mischievous, sprinting away with her nose following hot wildlife scents. Each time, I call her back, and she sprints to me.
So, perhaps I worry about her too much. I can't help it - she's my one and only K.
We'll try agility again sometime soon... but, if it hurts her even the slightest bit, her agility days are over. I can pack up the equipment until the next puppy joins our pack sometime in the future (R doesn't do agility due to elbow dysplasia).

R's paw seems to be healing on schedule too (R's "bad" paw is a hind one so its bandage isn't in the photo below). I must say that we seem to have bad luck when it comes to paw health in our pack!
The mountain biking has been sweet recently! I'm wearing shorts and sleeveless jerseys after wearing full winter regalia and riding my snow bike last week. The feeling of the sun kissing my shoulders is glorious!

Our world has turned green, and the birds are nesting. Flickers nest next to a favorite trail of mine every year. They seem to be sitting on eggs now.
Hermit Thrushes have arrived from far south of here. Their sweet melodies waft from the treetops of pine forests in the mornings and evenings. Their songs are one of my favorite parts of summer. Below, I included the first photo that I've ever managed to capture of a Hermit Thrush. They are called "hermits" for a good reason!
Predators are watching for newborns to snatch away.
Flowers are bursting and reaching for the sun. Bluebells...
I am on cloud nine, enjoying the sudden burst of summer!

There is also a flurry of bear action as mating season is in full swing. The heart-tugging part of mating season is that sows must separate from their yearling cubs. Sows nurture their cubs, protecting them and playing with them, for the first 17 months of the cubs' lives. Then, they send the cubs away so that they can mate again. I've captured a whole series of photos of a family of bears (a sow and two cubs) in the process of breaking up. One yearling is alone and wandering around looking confused. A second yearling is still with his/her mother. The worrisome part is that the mom and remaining yearling have a male bear with them, waiting to mate with mom. That yearling needs to cut the apron-strings soon! I can't wait to show you the photos and footage but my internet connection is too slow today.

I was able to upload one photo of the yearling cub who has already left his/her mom. This cub tried to mark the same bear whammy tree as the big male bears have marked recently. However, he/she looked clumsy and unsure of how to do it.
I've dubbed this yearling "Socks" because this mostly cinnamon bear appears to be wearing knee-high black socks! More tomorrow...


  1. I am completely wowed by your blog entries.

    Please be careful so that you can continue to share your photos, your cam clips, your videos and your knowledge.

    What you are doing is heartwarming.

    The pictures of K are so great.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Vickie (Berts My)

  2. Hi Y'all,

    It was like listening to a symphony reading about the hermit thrush (which looks a lot like our "flute" or brown thrush) and the mating season.

    I felt for you when you met up with the bobcats "sign".

    Even here in the mountains it is abnormally hot! hazy and muggy.

    Thanks for some great pictures!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  3. I hope the next round goes to you and not Bob! lol

    You know, K may just need to build up that muscle memory again that she used to do agility before. It has to be like exercise, when you use muscles you're not used to, you feel it later. I honestly think that K would be happy to do anything, as long as she was with you! If you suddenly couldn't walk or ride your bike anymore, K would be happy sitting on the porch with you or trotting along beside your four wheel drive wheelchair.

    Poor little bear! I wonder why the sow would ditch one cub and not the other. I hope it all goes well for the little bear family!

  4. Hope your little one is doing okay...paws crossed. Yikes, that bear!!
    Benny & Lily

  5. I agree with Houndstooth about K's soreness. Try her again, a little at a time. But she does love doing anything with you :-) Wonderful birds today! And who knew wallflowers were so beautiful!!

  6. There is no springtime in Cleveland either!
    I am glad to hear that everyone's paws are on the mend!
    I love how you capture summer in your photos, it brings a very BIG smile to my face:)

  7. Such great springtime stories, now that we're in the thick of summer here in TX. It was in the upper 90's today and I could barely walk the girls on our usual route today.

    You really have had some bad paw luck as of late, but that's ok - everyone's on the mend and feeling better.

    The lives of wild animals can be truly heartbreaking (one cub left and another in mortal danger). It's a wonder any of them reach adulthood at all!

  8. OH dear, I am feeling all sorry for the cubs now! 17 mths seems a long time to be with a Mom and that seems to maybe make it harder on them to be left. What an active imagination I have lol

    Sorry about the Bobcat Eau du Scent

  9. Silly blogger is doing it again,, it just ate my comment!
    Such beautiful photos of the flowers and birds.
    We have a varied thrush that I think sounds pretty,, (i think that is it) but no hermit- like yours.
    I feel sorry for the bear cub,, poor thing,

  10. We don't know if it is blogger or our laptop, but if we try to open your blog, everything freezes. We are able to do this through Google Reader, but for some reason, we just can't get the blog to load properly.

    We think Bunny's Mom summed up things about K perfectly. K just wants to be with her favorite person. We hope her paw and R's continue to do well.

    We can't wait to see more about the bears.

    Have a great weekend.

  11. You've got so much humor in this post, I'm having a difficult time not chuckling out loud! I love how you turned what Bob did into a game; so many others would have been upset at the predicament. But you just went about your way, collecting and sharing photos!

    Love the nickname for the bear cub, too. I think I'm going to have to make a Socks bear now!

  12. We skipped over Spring and went straight so Summer too!

  13. Love the pix of K and K's and R's paws! (But all your photos are just beautiful!) So sorry about Bob's urine - yuck - guess he was "p...sed"! And thanks for the bear images - and explanations too - so sad, but know they will learn with the good months of summer ahead? The flowers, thrush, mountains and eagle/falcon(?) are just captivating! So glad to finally be back in blogworld! Missed your super posts!
    Sammie, Avalon, Oz and Mom

  14. Fantastic post!!! Great activity going on there! The summer signs are most welcome, we need them here too! Are bracing for a new storm to roll in today.
    Your color and closeups are amazing!

    Sweet hugs,
    Sierra Rose

  15. We hope everyone's paws get well soon! That picture of both of them is fantastic!! Bobcats, bears and is very exciting to come to your blog!! I just love the pictures of everything so much! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  16. I just wanted to echo what Bert said - the pictures and stories you post just blow me away. Your devotion to your dogs and your passion for the world around you is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

    Someone Who Lives Nowhere Near a Mountain and Does Not Currently Have a Dog

  17. Gosh, it looks like I've missed a lot of activity on your blog. I'm going to work my way backwards and catch up on everything. I'm glad you're all enjoying warmer weather, although I'm sure some springtime would have been nice.


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