Friday, 5 June 2015

The year of the Cinnamon's

Waterton Lakes National Park - Week 1

We have returned for our second year to Waterton Lakes NP in Canada, two weeks earlier than last year. It is normally quite cool at this time of year but the weather like everywhere it seems, is different this year. The first few days were in the high 20ºC's, days are sunny, sometimes with a cold wind. The wildflowers are out spread across the green meadows and the smell is divine.

Cinnamon black bear - boar

This bear had just walked through the carpark. He started to walk towards the trail that leads to Akamina Lake. Wildlife will take the easy route whenever possible, so if there is a trail there they will take it. Sure enough he started walking down the trail, so we followed him. Keeping a healthy distance behind and with a can of bear spray of course! Then he stopped and rubbed himself up against a tree. He never did continue down to the lake, but went into the forest.

This black bear is very blonde. Most of the tourists here think that anything that isn't black is a grizzly. Grizzlies like open fields and can be found up near Red Rock apparently, although we have only seen black bears up there. Black bears like forests so that they can climb trees when danger approaches.

Fox kit siblings in friendly banter

There was another fox family this year outside the hotel. The mother got run over about six weeks ago and the father stepped in and took over her role of bringing them up. Two kits didn't survive but two did. The night we saw Dad bring home dinner, he only had one squirrel. Well you can't share one squirrel can you? first in best dressed as they say. One missed out as he had gone back into the den, but as he had caught something himself earlier, it seemed fair.

Come and get it! The smaller kit gets dinner

Always hungry, the other kit comes up to dad, but there is nothing for him

Where is mine?

Dad took off again, presumably to get more food. The kits ran after him but then crossed an invisible line which made them go back to the den. The next day when we went back we didn't see any of them. A number of times after that, there was only ever one there. Dad must have taken off with the smaller one, maybe it was his favourite! The other one will go soon, after he finally figures out that no-one is coming back. He calls for the others which is heartbreaking to watch. At least we had seen him getting some food for himself, so we know he will be okay.

Please mum, let me stay... You can see Mum's response to that!

We came across this sow and cub on the Akamina Parkway. It was obviously time for the cub to start living on it's own, but he didn't want to. He would look lovingly at his mother but she would shoo him away. He would go away sulking, only to come back and just stare at her - "please take me back".

He has become the naughty bear, maybe it's to get his mother's attention! Apparently someone left some food in the bed of their truck and he found it. Now he associates cars, trucks and people with food. You can see the yellow paint on his side (above) and nose (below) where he has been marked by the rangers. If he becomes too much of a problem, he will be punished in a way to try and teach him a lesson, such as hazing. Maybe worse.

We thought this was quite cute, until he got up on the back step and got into the bed of the truck. So we started the engine and moved forward to make him get out, which worked.

Going my way? Hitch hiker's in the back please

Our friends Cathy and Jim who introduced us to Waterton last year are up here too and they were parked in front of us, so they were able to take the picture above.

watch out below, I'm coming down!
Cathy's doctor and some friends had come up from California for a few days and of course the bears had gone into hiding. We spotted one at the end of the carpark that went into the bushes, so Lindsay went after him. Yes, stupid, but at least there have never been any bear incidents in Waterton. Let's hope he doesn't become the first. Anyway, he takes Eileen in to get some photos of this bear. Then he hears some rustling up the tree. There is a sow hiding from the other bear up in the tree, you could barely see her amongst the branches. So remember - black bears no matter how big they are, do climb trees.

We saw four different bears scratching their backs like this

Related Posts:

Waterton Townsite Campground - we camped inside the National Park this time which saved a lot of driving. There is no diesel in the town so we have to remember this time not to leave it too late as the nearest diesel pump is about 40kms away. We forgot to refill our propane bottles before we left Great Falls in MT and couldn't get any in Cardston, even though it's a good sized town, so we filled up at the gas station here in Waterton and it cost double the normal rate!

2015 Waterton Lakes Part-2 Mischievous Bears
2014 Waterton Lakes Part-1
2014 Waterton Lakes Part-2

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