Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I think a bear was there!

This morning on the way down the driveway for Jet's walk, I noticed that a tree limb was hanging at a strange angle.  It definitely wasn't like that yesterday.  You can see it in roughly the middle of this picture, hanging out from the right side of the drive.

As I got closer, I could see it was quite definitely broken, and that it was a reasonably large branch in terms of the diameter.  I figured the goats had been up to mischief as usual.
Then I noticed, when I came closer, that the vegetation to one side was really squashed down.  It appeared to me to be more squashed than I would expect to see from a few goat hooves, or even a goat that had decided to lay down for a while and ruminate.  It's a little hard to tell from this picture, but the area that is squashed is about a 3 foot diameter patch.

Then I noticed that on the other side of the branch that was broken, there was another completely squashed area where something large had crushed all the vegetation.
Here you can see where the branch was broken from the main stem - it's not an easy break for a small animal to make.
Black bears live in this area and they're preparing for hibernation at this time of year.  They eat a lot of berries.  This tree has berries on it - I think they are service berries or choke cherries - I'm not entirely sure. There were still berries on the broken branch though, so if it was a bear, it wasn't terribly efficient.
Overall, I'm not sure if there was a bear, there, or not.  I tried to look for any hair or evidence of bear fur (or droppings) but there was nothing I could find.  No goat droppings either!  I thought I detected a very faint musky smell, but that could have been my overactive imagination.  Still, something definitely did break the branch and cause a lot of vegetation damage in the immediate area.  The other clue was that Jet was really very excited about sniffing that area.  He could definitely smell the visitor!
I guess I'll be keeping an eye out for large mammals on our walks!

In the meantime, signs of fall are beginning to show.  I love the colour of the Virginia Creeper vine, even if it is a nuisance plant!  There is still plenty of lovely green grazing for the goats and sheep though.  I hope the hard frosts are still a long way off!

On our afternoon walk, Jet and I went across to the open pasture over the road.  We found definite evidence of bear!  This, my dear readers, is bear poop!  I put a small apple on it for scale.  You can see all the berry seeds in it.  That's no small animal leaving evidence, that's a full "power dump" from a big ol' bear!
Jet did a lot of sniffing over there too.  He definitely is on the bear trail!  I was just enjoying the lovely blue skies and gentle breezes.
We also found a destroyed paper wasp nest.  Quite possibly a bear would do that.

I believe this is some kind of Viburnum species, and I suspect the bear likes these berries too.   They provide a lovely splash of colour in the sea of green.

There are also a few last apples hanging on.  I think the bear will be feasting around here for a while!


IsobelleGoLightly said...

Ooooo! Hope those bears just stick to the veg and fruit! Weeee! We have them around here too and mostly they leave us alone...but we can't feed the outdoor birds anymore.

Patty Woodland said...

Time for bear spray on your walks. That or a LOT of singing

Millie said...

I'm so glad we don't have to worry about bears here. Of course, I did fend of the chupacabra, so I think I could handle a bear.

Tatteranne said...

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my. I wouldn't want any of them. That is quite an impressive pile of poo. It looks like a lovely walk.

Spinners End Farm said...

Definitely fattening up time and you have a nice spot for it! Hope all is well in NS. :)

Marigold said...

Goat Berries are much daintier, don't you think? Perhaps you need an Alpine. I bet a bear is no match for an Alpine. :)