Stéphane’s Posting for Sept. 16, 2011

Checking Nets With Bears!

This morning, we had company! Not of the feathery kind: birds are rather rare these days at Cabot Head. It is this time of the season when there is a lull between the (mostly) long-distance migrants and (mostly) short-distance migrants. No, it was the furry kind (although not furious). While checking the nets, I came upon a nice and healthy black bear eating berries sitting on his butt. When he saw me, it took him a few seconds of reflection before darting away on all fours.

That was nice, of course, to see a bear but my German volunteer was a bit jealous. He had, very unusually for him, skipped this net check. Maybe an hour later (it was noon then), we started another round and we hadn’t reached yet the first net when we heard branches snapping and some growling. Backing away and going around on the driveway, we discovered a black bear being ready to climb a birch tree. Probably the same guy than earlier, enticed to come back by all these juicy berries! It got spooked by our appearances and climbed up the tree, all the while making grunts and smacking his lips. Poor bear, he was scared and tried to scare us in return, so we would leave him to his delicious lunch. But, no, we enjoyed watching him so much that we stayed around, being simply calm and telling him we were nice people.

After a while, he finally climbed down the tree and walked away. We glanced him again (we had a net check to do after all), while he was drinking in Wingfield Basin. And then, as we walked from net B6 to B7, here he was again, on the path. Oh! He got scarred again and stopped at the base of big cedars, ready to climb to safety once more. But the click of Patrick’s camera sent him rushing and galloping away.

Sorry, bear, we didn’t mean to frightened you… We didn’t see it for the rest of the day… (and one more net with a big hole because of an ursine encounter!)