Sunday, September 23, 2012

Too Cold, Too Hot, Just Right

Rub-a-dub-dub, 3 bears in a tub -

Errr - make that 4 bears.

Or maybe 5.

It was a truly hot summer in CA, with the Central Valley, Sierra Foothills and Tehachapi Mountains seeing many days with peak temps of over 100 degrees.

During one such spell in late June, I happened to have a trail cam on a cattle trough in the Tehachapis, to see how the wildlife might be using it.

water trough
Cattle watering hole in Tehachapi Mountains. Moultrie trail camera on bank in upper left.

And while I expected to catch bears, I didn't expect them to enjoy the tin can pond quite so much. At least 4, maybe 5 different bears showed up in a 2 week period. Their 7 visits are below.

visit #1- Junior Brown
The first bear passed by on a cool morning. A smaller, juvie bear - maybe a cub in 2011, or 10.

black bear

black bear

black bear
"Naw - too cold"

visit #2 - Big Shaggy
The next bear dove right in. 85 degrees at 7:26 in the evening - must have been a scorcher of a day. A big, shaggy black bear. Perhaps this is also our upright Fred Astaire Bear?

black bear

black bear
"Oh - you again"

visit #3 - Junior Brown again
On Junior Brown's second visit he/she also thought the water just right. At 110 degrees out, I would too. Guessing that reading is a bit high, btw. The cam is in full sun, near the ground.

black bear
"Ouch, oooow, aaaa, eeeee..."

black bear
"Aaahhhhhhh..."

visit #4 - Big Shaggy again
Bear visit #4 is Big Shaggy again. But just for a drink.

black bear

black bear

black bear

visit #5 - Sleek Sable
A new bear showed one toasty afternoon the day after summer solstice. Like Junior Brown, also a smaller 2nd-ish year juvenile. I think. But sleek and sable black. And perhaps looking at another bear that's beyond the camera's view.

black bear

black bear

visit #6 - Junior Brown again?
Visit #6 was a quick dip that gave only a single photo. Maybe Junior Brown again? Or a new bear? (which, as you'll see next, would make it a 5th bear)

black bear

visit #7 - Big Chocolate
Bear visit #7 is definitely another new bear - a big, chocolate brown adult. That really enjoyed the late morning spa time.

black bear
"Summertime, and the living's easy..." "Testing, testing... is this thing on?"

black bear

black bear
"Badump, badump, badump..."

black bear

Good way to get to know your bears.

Of course, there were also auditions for the part of rubber duckie.

But I'll save those for another post.

====
References:
==========

13 comments:

  1. Wonderful. Nice that they provide recreation for the locals. But what would happen if a cow showed up for some water!
    D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow what a set! Also gave some perspective on the size of the trough. Yeah now I'm wondering what would have happened if a cow showed up

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a treat! =) I'll def. have to share this with folks. Nicely done! =)

    ReplyDelete
  4. They must have some sort of secret handshake, because the cattle use the trough constantly and there's never any evidence of cattle-bear conflicts on the ranch. I haven't gotten any photos with both together though, so I'd guess the cattle move off when the bear trundles into the scene.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are the smaller -sized bears on their own or do you think they are still hanging out with big, shaggy mama bear?

    ReplyDelete
  6. PS: if I get rolling tonight, I will post photos of my watering trough visitors - not nearly as big or furry but kinda funny.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I spotted the flattened escape ramp in Big Shaggy photo, harharhar. What is the purpose of the the twisted wire across the diameter of the trough? I've been meaning to ask Cowboy Vince that because he rigs his circular tubs that way too. Is it to keep pterosaurs from plunging into the trough and splashing all the water out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! No, not pterosaur protection - the T-posts and crosswire keep the trough in place. As the spring dries and the trough gets low, it gets much lighter, and the cattle leaning on it can move it around, and break the fill lines.

      Bear size - I think the smaller 1-1/2 year-old bears are in the process of transitioning from their moms. They're around her sometimes, but also forage on their own, and probably this winter, when she would have cubs again, they are on their own for good.

      Delete
  8. Great shots. Drinking troughs are probably my favorite sites for camera-traps. I always seem to get more than I expected.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amazing pictures, and lovely bears. I love seeing a cinnamon BB!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am leaning towards 4 bears

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's just 4 bears as well.

      Delete
  11. Thank you so much...how fortunate for the bears and the birds that this water tub is set up in the summer heat.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a comment, thought or question at any time.