Bear tracks

After checking a duck box, I glanced down to see a black bear track.


It was about the clearest one that I’d ever seen. The bear had stepped off a creek bank to momentarily put its weight down in the sandbar. This combination left one very distinct print. We returned with some special casting plaster to make a cast.


It turned out rather well. 

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Saturday morning mystery!

Does anyone remember how the local television channels would show some sort of movie – often a mystery – after the cartoons ended on Saturday morning? For Georgians, it was usually shown weekly under the marquee “WSB Saturday afternoon at the movies.” Well, we have our Saturday morning mystery most weeks. We head down to the nature trail to see what sort of mystery we could find. This week wasn’t disappointing.

We’re walking through where many of the white pines were knocked down by the storm last August. We’d cut these and shifted them to the trails edge. They’d stayed there, heavy and immobile and bark covered, for months. This Saturday, though…

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…what had been a bark covered log was now stripped and lying in the middle of the trail. Whoa…. This thing weighed a ton. It’s in the middle of the trail. Who did this? We’re puzzling over that one log when we look down the trail…

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…only to find another and another and another. Indeed, something had worked its way down the trail to systematically strip one white pine log after another of its bark. Bark chunks were flipped over to exposed the inner bark. This went on for around 100 yards – an enormous amount of work.

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We puzzled over this for a few minutes until we realized that several logs had sets of three and four claw marks on them.

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What did it? Not entirely sure. Our guess: black bear. We’d seen one in the back yard on Thursday. The claw marks were about the right size, and the bear we’d seen was large enough to roll the logs. We also saw where a lot of invertebrates had been living underneath the bark as the trees rotted on the ground. A black bear would make a snack of the grubs and so forth under the bark, as well as the salamanders that would seek out those same inverts. Are we sure about this Saturday morning mystery? Nah, but it’s cheap entertainment!