Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bearly Visible

Most mornings, a pair of does come for breakfast along the fence line. They arrive and dine so quietly that often the dogs do not detect them. Of course, if I step outside with my camera, the dogs detect me instantly. Seven barking dogs racing to the fence line quickly scare off the deer. Even if I manage to creep outside with my camera, most likely I have the wrong lens on my camera--not so today. Before I even made coffee this morning I had captured a few good photos of the lone doe.

Soon after emptying the coffee pot, I washed it out at the kitchen sink by the window. I have scanned the hillside beyond this window since the house was built in 1988. There have been plenty of birds but very few mammals, and then most often a squirrel or chipmunk--never seen are deer or bears, and certainly nothing as exciting such as a cougar or bobcat.

Today I realized that there was something out of place--certainly that burnt black stump was not between those fir trees yesterday. Then the stump stood up and took a step. It was a bear!

Not quite drying my sudsy hands, I ran to carefully grab my camera, quietly opened the door, crept to the edge of the deck and scanned the hillside for the bear. It was not to be found; as with most wildlife, it was gone in a flash. No picture today.

No matter, I have been happy to see nearly a dozen bears this season although I have only managed to take a photo of one bear cub. Can you see him, popping his curious little head up from behind the log? Look at those cute little ears. This first bear sighting of the year was special because a sow usually has one or two cubs; this little one was a triplet.

Within a few minutes, at the third of three lakes in our valley, I saw another bear. He was a larger male, less curious and more anxious to escape my gaze and therefore my camera.

At home the dogs have been barking their heads off the last couple of days, the kind of barking that usually means a larger animal such as a bear. I will keep my camera at the ready with a fully charged battery and long lens.