First black bear of the season

May 6, 2009

Sometimes I just get a gut feeling where to be. That was the case last Friday. As I cruised down Skyline Drive I stopped at The Oaks Overlook. I haven’t stopped at many overlooks lately, but something told me I needed to this time.

As I stepped out of the truck, I gazed below and noticed the vegetation was not very thick yet and the visibility was actually pretty good. A few seconds later, as I sat on the stone wall, a dark mass caught my eye off to the right. Bear!

050109bed

It wasn’t a huge animal, but it lumbered along and dug at the ground a few times looking for food. For a few minutes, it was in its own world and I was a silent observer of my first bear of the season.

As I navigated the wall for a better angle, it gazed up at me and stopped. It wasn’t at all frightening and we just eyed each other for a few seconds, myself being careful not to stare it down in a threatening manner. Attempting to ease its concern, I sat back down on the wall. Without missing a beat, the bear (still watching me intently) sat down himself. Excellent!

That frame, which is already in the layout, turned out to be a great scenic moment.

The best part was the fact that despite being at an overlook, there was not a large gang of spectators as can frequently occur with bear sightings. In fact, no one even knew what I was seeing. The distance down to the bear allowed me to be relaxed and play off as a general sightseer if cars approached, negating any interest in what was actually going on.

Anyone who spends a lot of time in the park can tell you, stopping on the drive itself for a bear is a huge beacon that will create a backup almost instantly. It’s fun when you can silently observe and have personal moments in the park.

After a few minutes, the bear lumbered back off into the distance and I moved on as well.

At Bootens Gap I pulled into the small parking lot and began to walk the wall near where I had previously seen the bobcat. Terrain has changed slightly with the emerging leaves, but overall it was about the same.

I’m not sure what made me do it, but I raised my camera and quickly looked up. Soaring overhead was a large bird. Red-tailed Hawk or Northern Harrier maybe?

050109falconed

The bear alone made for a great day. The bird was a nice touch though.

For anyone interested in more information about black bears, you can refer to my earlier series on the topic:

Until next time!

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4 Responses to “First black bear of the season”

  1. Renee Says:

    Great story about the bear sitting! And sounds like you have developed a psychic power to sense animal sightings 🙂

    You can submit bird photos to be identified here:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/79514222@N00/

  2. Evan Dyson Says:

    I’m not going to complain if I’ve gone semi-psychic. Working to my advantage so far 🙂

    Thanks for the bird link.

  3. Christine Says:

    Renee gave me a link to your blog. It’s always exciting to spot bears. We already saw our first cubs of the season a couple weeks ago.

  4. Evan Dyson Says:

    Christine, thanks for dropping by. I’m looking forward to seeing more in the coming months. I’m a big fan of the youngsters.


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