Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/05/2014

Photo taken on August 27, 2014

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Ursus americanus
picnic area
S of Calgary
wooden pier
American Black Bear
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Black Bear
side view
Waterton Lakes National Park
wild animal
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Anne Elliott

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Sometimes, all you get is a silhouette

Sometimes, all you get is a silhouette
This beautiful Black Bear had been eating berries from the bushes that are around the edge of the lake at Waterton. A second bear (a dark Cinnamon Black Bear) was with it, but only this bear came close to where we were in our car. We could tell that it was moving through the bushes in our direction, but we got a huge surprise when it suddenly appeared on the beach this close to the parking lot. It tried to climb up on to the pier, but then made its way past it (and us!) and along the trees at the edge of the lake. Earlier, it was interesting to see a third bear arrive right where the first two bears were feeding in the bushes (hidden from view almost the whole time). For some reason, it quickly left by walking over the beach and swimming to another part of the lake. I'd never seen a bear swimming, so, even though it was a distant view, it was interesting to see.

The first day we were in Waterton, there was no bear sighting for us, which was a little disappointing. However, the second day was so much better. As well as the three bears at the lake, we had already seen our first bear of the day - a beautiful dark Cinnamon Black Bear that appeared at a picnic spot where we had just arrived and so were still sitting in the car, around 9:00 a.m.. It walked quickly past a shelter not far from our car, and disappeared into the forest, stopping briefly to stand up and scratch its back against one of the trees (I'd never seen this happen before, except on videos). Not even a glance in our direction.

I spent 26, 27 and 28 August 2014 on this road trip with friends Cathy and Terry, spending the first two days in Waterton Lakes National Park and the third day driving east of Waterton in search of Burrowing Owls and Yellow-bellied Marmots. During our three days away, we saw so many things, I hardly know where to start. This always happens when I go anywhere with Cathy and Terry - every day is a very long, fun-filled day, full of exciting finds.

Perhaps I will simply mention some of the things and then add more detail to each photo as I add them to my photostream. Of course, we couldn't have had a more beautiful area to explore! Waterton Lakes National Park has amazing scenery and wildlife. The weather forecast that I saw before we left Calgary said that we were in for three beautiful days of sunshine - too often, it can be rainy weather. So, luck was on our side, giving us warm, sunny days - until the BIG STORM hit, lol! I posted a photo the other day of the storm that was approaching very fast, around 5:00 p.m. just before we started our return trip to Calgary. It was like nothing I had ever seen before - a menacing shelf (?) cloud that was travelling fast and furious. Despite trying our best to get away from it, it eventually engulfed our car, surrounding us with more or less zero visibility, pounding hail, thunder and lightning, and very strong winds. There was nothing to do but stop the car and sit tight, hoping that the hail would not break the car windows and that this severe thunderstorm would not develop into a tornado! This storm was very scary, but at the same time, exciting (only because all turned out OK in the end!). Our road trip sure went out with a bang!

A few of the things we saw on this trip included fantastic scenery, 4 Black Bears including this one, Bison, Deer, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, various bird species including the Burrowing Owls (east of Waterton Lakes National Park), a few wildflowers, several Yellow-bellied Marmots (a first for me!), a few different insect species, and a family of some species of Grouse (still not sure what kind, but I've posted a photo of the adult today). I even got the chance to see three or four new-to-me old, wooden grain elevators.