What on Earth is up in that tree?

“Is that a porcupine?” asked Sharon, pointing to the top of a tall white pine.

blackbear0514-1A dark blob – that’s what it looked like. Way up high, it was hard to tell what it could be. I lightly pressed the gas pedal, inching down the gravel road toward the tree. Meanwhile, Sharon aimed her camera (with a 400-mm lens) at the mystery blob to get a closer look.

“Two baby bears,” she said. “Wow. How cool is that?”

The next 30 minutes or so was spent photographing the sleepy cubs, or trying to, anyway. We had to be careful. Momma bear wouldn’t be far away, and while black bears are fairly gentle creatures, they’re fierce when it comes to protecting their young. For the most part, we snapped photos out the car windows, trying to get new angles in hope of capturing a cub’s face, which were usually hidden in pine boughs. If we stepped out of the car, we left the door open and didn’t move more than a few steps away. The resulting photos weren’t fabulous, but it was still a lucky thing — to come across two bear cubs.

Black bear cubs clinging to a white pine in Maine on May 23, 2014.

Black bear cubs clinging to a white pine in Maine on May 23, 2014.

I can’t reveal where we were, simply because it’s private property. But I will tell you that we were somewhere in Hancock County, Maine, and we had permission to be there.

During the trip, we came across another black bear (an adult), as well as several turkey and blue jays, but we didn’t get close enough to capture detailed photos. The snowshoe hares, however, hopped ever closer to our vehicle, nibbling on grass and jumping at one other in a fashion that I can only describe as playing. Unfortunately, the hare closeups I captured revealed the abundance of ticks the poor creatures have to deal with.

All in all, it was an exciting trip, and it certainly drove home Sharon’s advice when it comes to spotting wildlife: “I look for something that doesn’t quite belong.”

 

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.