Black Bear With Her Three Young Cubs at Carden Alvar
Bob and I have learned so much through different groups on Facebook, and one of the areas that was brought to our attention was the Carden Alvar here in Ontario. Our second visit in mid-June was a bit late and too hot for much activity where migrating birds were concerned, but our list of sightings was still long and included this female Black Bear and her three cubs.
For once, Bob and I got off the sheet a little earlier than usual, 5 a.m., and arrived at Cameron Ranch by 8 a.m. sharp! In our quest to find pretty vistas of colourful wildflowers, we hiked a good distance across this grassland that is bordered by a series of forested wetlands, sedge meadows and marshes.
As we neared the far side of one wide open area, Bob noticed some movement to our left on the far side of a wire fence. My height was a disadvantage, but I managed to glimpse this Eastern Coyote as it bounded through the tall meadow grasses. I felt a chill run up my spine. It was a mere 50 feet away.
Bob and I did not go unprepared for our hike through the Ranch having heard of recent bear sightings in that precise area. A bear bell was attached to our backpack so a constant rattle would warn any bears of our presence in their midst.
Perhaps that is what induced this Eastern Coyote to pause and glance our way. A fresh kill was clutched firmly in its jaws, perhaps a Groundhog, so we deduced that the Coyote probably was headed back to a den full of pups.
The trail led us next through a wooded area and way beyond, but about 45 minutes later, we found ourselves returning the same way we’d come as we made our way back to the parking lot. That was when, on the far side of the field, some small movement alerted us to the presence of…something.
We had been on high alert so stopped in our tracks to observe as the animals cleared the shrubs and came into full view. It was an adult Black Bear with three small cubs. I was excited but guarded.
Bob and I remained stock-still because we wanted to snap some photos and simply observe the bears. When crossing the meadow earlier, I had picked a handful of wild strawberries, and most likely, this family of Black Bears was foraging for the same tasty fruits.
The cubs were curious and playful, gallivanting all around the edge of the bushes, and when they turned in our direction, the mindful sow noticed the two of us standing on the far edge of the meadow.
It was now the sow’s turn to stand up and sniff the air, take in her surroundings and pay attention to we interlopers. By this point, Bob and I had a decision to make: continue moving forward or turn back. I was grateful for the wire fence to my left, knowing I could hop it with a burst of adrenalin coursing through my veins but was also aware of the fact that it wouldn’t stop the sow if she charged at a perceived threat to her babies.
Our decision saw us avoiding eye contact with the sow, striding slowly and deliberately forward, and jiggling the bear bell. The mother Black Bear came to the conclusion that we were harmless yet she retreated back towards the woods from whence they came.
Just to be sure we were leaving, the sow gathered her cubs and stood tall for one last look in our direction.
We were relieved that the Black Bear family did not continue on its original course or they would have intersected the trail dead ahead of us.
In no particular hurry, the three Black Bear cubs and their mother sauntered towards the wooded periphery…
and within seconds disappeared from sight into the shade of the forest canopy. Bob and I picked up our pace despite the torrid heat. Our clothing was soaked with sweat, and it was only 9:15 a.m. We had lots more touring to do that day but we sure were off to a good start.
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