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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bears, bears, bears!

K and I had a glorious mountain bike ride yesterday before the snow storm moved in. We served our punishment, meted out by Benny and Lily, for my close call with hypothermia. It was a two day suspension from mountain bike riding. We served it in dog days. Each dog day is 1/7 of a human day. So, we skipped riding for a few hours and then we were free to romp and roll all over the forest!
During our ride, we saw a deer who watched us from within the snow-free pine forest.
I also spotted a ground squirrel who has watched us pass by from his perch on a boulder almost every day since he came out of hibernation in May. I took his photo because I'm guessing that he's gone into hibernation today. Not a bad spot to soak up the sunshine, don't you think?
One day earlier this week, I took a ride up higher in the mountains than our home to enjoy the leaves and the dry trails before our first snowstorm hit today. In the upper right of the photo, you can see the pointy peak that K and I tried to climb a couple of weeks ago and the yellow leaves in the forest below it. We'll make it to the top next year!
The leaves wowed me, from a distance and up close.
The animals are feeling the impending winter just like us humans. A bear named "Tiny" has been on the prowl in our area. This huge bear settled in to investigate in front of one of my trail cameras yesterday morning before sunrise.
It was super windy, which makes bears very nervous because they can't distinguish the sound of footfalls made by approaching animals from the wind rustling the leaves. Tiny repeatedly looked alarmed during his/her almost 3 minute stay in front of my camera.
Finally, after thoroughly investigating the area, Tiny departed with a nervous glance over his/her shoulder. I'll be uploading a video of Tiny's entire visit to the cam when I'm at the library. I'd use up too much of our satellite internet quota if I tried to upload it from home.
Much to my surprise, we had another bear experience yesterday evening. A bear sauntered into our clearing and checked out our bear-proof birdfeeding station. This is about 6 weeks later than we've ever had a bear visit our clearing. His/her arrival:
Then, the ritual of the pole dance. The feeders are hanging from branches off the pole (which is sunk in concrete) 6 feet over his head.

Finally, the bear gave up and walked away. The Runner's ingenious system has outsmarted the bears for many years!
Interestingly, he walked past the birdfeeder again at 2AM, but the camera caught only a photo of his rump. I think that he just walked through our clearing on his way someplace else.

I'm not sure if this was Tiny or some other bear. Based on his humongous size, I suspect that he was Tiny... but I can't be sure. In any case, I'm guessing that the bear who came into our clearing is a male because he clearly was still voracious. Bears become less hungry and lethargic before hibernation. Female bears, especially pregnant ones, are probably either in their dens or relaxing near dens by now. Their appetites are waning toward nonexistent. Males go into hibernation much later so they keep foraging with a vengeance into the fall. That's why I think that the bear in our clearing is a male.

Yes, winter started this morning. Look at the difference in our forest... and the evil eye from the very young buck closest to the camera. I wonder if this is his first winter?
Tomorrow, I'll tell you the story of the rabbit who lived in the boulders behind my house. I'm afraid that he had a hungry visitor...


  1. Oh good heavens. Snow and bears. You're trying to mess with my head! ;)

    Amazing shots of the bears. Your little button buck does look ticked off.

  2. Hi Y'all,

    Oh my, yes that young buck certainly is giving the world an evil eye...what expression!

    Oh that snow is so beautiful if you can sit and look at the pictures and not have to go outside into it. I always enjoyed watching it snow, but hated it when I had to go clear the porch or walkway...or worse drive in the stuff! What a nightmare!

    BrownDog's Human

  3. Oh dear. I have a feeling little bunny froo froo had a most unpleasant time of it.

    I often wonder what the animals think when they encounter their first snowfall. So many of their scents and landmarks disappear under the snow.

    Such a sweet face on K in the first photograph. I can tell she can see clear into your very soul.

  4. Thunder and Ciara could tell a bunny tale or two:(

    We still don't have good fall colors and here you go with the snow. That deer really doesn't look too happy.

    We got a good chuckle out of that pole dance:)

  5. So many of our furiends got snow today, but not us, It was sunny and 78 degrees at my house. So happy dat you have recovered from your hypothermia scare. :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  6. Oh no snow.....yes, Bucky is looking peeved...!

  7. I'm sitting here at the beach getting ready for eighty degrees tomorrow and you're having snow? Good grief! That's crazy!

    I'd be surprised if Tiny wasn't a boy, just based on his size that you've commented on before. The bird feeder pictures are pretty funny!

  8. I think Tiny is a girl and I just love seeing her all relaxed and hangin.

    I would be a tad bit nervous with that big guy coming into my area after the bird feeder though.

    And the evil eye on the deer was a fantastic shot.

    My Vickie and I have been waiting all day for your post to come because we were just sure you were gonna show us snow.

    You never dissapoint......


  9. We think Tiny wanted one last before bedtime snack....Sweet dreams, Tiny. Hope you have a good winter nap.

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  10. Wonderful bear pix! I am looking at the 7th picture from the bottom up. Is this Tiny, after the bird seed? He looks like he has scars on his back. When do these guys fight? Is it an everyday thing over food, or just some sport that happens at fall time?



  11. So much beauty .Boy, the year sure is moving on fast .

  12. The Mango cannot help but be disturbed by the bear pole dancing that is going on in your woodlands. I fear this could be the start of things much worse like bear organized crime or bear drug running. Not to mention, that bear is totally nekked, OK? Oh cover my eyes.


    P.S. I am glad you got warmed up again after almost becoming a momsicle.

  13. The leaves look so vibrant and the bear and deer photos are so amazing.

    Seasons are changing again your part of the world. We do hope you guys are warm and cozy there.

    We like the last photo the most as it reminds us of Bambi.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie (Tabby, too)

  14. Snow!!!! Now you're talking our language!, no. We had them visiting us when I lived up in the country here on top of a mountain and one used to come right under our one window and look in. Talk about a fright seeing that big, dark moving image outside of the window in night! *shudder* Talk about memories flooding back! I'll stick to looking at them in your amazing pics! Just love that close-up of K in the leaves. Beautiful. Frostbite...? Hope all is OK.

  15. Well thank goodness K. You hid that bike of hers or did you put her on suspension for a day. Oh my word....what else goes on in those woods? We heard of pole dancing but never saw a bear engaging in such activities
    Benny & Lily

  16. We had to come back and look at all thses amazing photos.,,,
    Gosh,, the bears!! YIKES!

  17. Thank you for your great work and… this Blog is a really pleasant surprise! Keep up the good work!

    Pet sitting Mckinney

  18. I'm not ready for snow. Ready or not, here it comes . . . right?


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