Well we wore our insulated coveralls again to head back to the blind. As the morning fog burned off the fall foliage emerged in all of it’s splendor.
What a beautiful day to spend out with nature. We didn’t have long to wait before we spotted a big bear to the north of us….the DB…aka Dingle Beary…the big male. Surprisingly about ten minutes later out popped Momma Blaze! They actually laid down within 50 feet of each other feeding on the corn. It is unusual for the males and females to share this close of quarters with each other…except during mating season.
Well, to make the day even more special and unique…a wolf came out along the tracks. It looked at the bears…they looked back…and continued to eat. The wolf actually ate corn with them…until…out popped another wolf…not make that two more. At that point Momma Blaze felt a little uncomfortable and heading to the west. The big male just looked at them and kept eating. Well, it looked like these were probably the young to the first wolf. At this point the DB got up but only to move to a different spot to eat. The two young wolves went to the east…then yet another young one came out. Finally the momma and her third young headed to the east to join the other two. WOW!!! What an amazing day along the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley!
A few minutes later…yet another lone wolf came out to the tracks. It looked at the DB…he looked back. This wolf headed back to the west after finding nothing it wanted to eat.
A little later the lone wolf appeared to the south of us. It spent some time looking for food. It would zig and zag back and forth…in and out of the woods. It finally headed to the far south and disappeared.
The DB had headed into the marsh to the east…but it wasn’t long and out he popped just to the south of us. He came up and feed for a while in front of us then disappeared to the east.
What a great day to be out here…you just never know what you see or what unique interactions you will be privilege to witness amongst our amazing wildlife!.
To make it even sweeter a lone raven came in to feed in front of us. The ravens are usually too smart to come in while we are there. They can easily see us and are forever veering away from us when I try to ‘shoot’ them. This poor little guy had a small growth near its eye and another on its chest. It didn’t seem to affect its eating or flying so hopefully it will survive. But it did seem odd that the others didn’t appear to want to associate with the poor guy.
Soo Junction Journal September 15, 2014
The mornings have definitely been colder...so much so that we were our insulated coveralls. It's a quiet start to the morning. We have a Nashville warbler…lots of raven activity….doe and fawn…and sandhill cranes. So probably not any wolves around today.
Then the big male black bear that Dixie calls the DB…and I dubbed Dingle Beary comes down to see us. He is one big guy...probably 550 or so. Not quite as huge as old Bubba was but still big.
Then we spot either a wolf…coyote…or coywolf…with three pups to the north of us. They are coming down toward us...but unfortunately the train comes through before they come close enough to really tell. The momma has a very red tint to her fur. It was great to see pups…the first we have ever seen...either wolf or coyote.
Everything quiets down even the ravesn so we call it quits around noon.
Soo Junction Journal September 8, 2014
We were greeted by the territorial bald eagle pair as we turned the curve to head to our blind. They allow me to snap a couple of shots before taking off. What a great way to start the day! It took a while but finally Momma Blaze came out to the north of us. She meander down to us but didn’t walk in front of us. She disappeared into the west.
A little later we spot a wolf to the south of us. It came out at #2 several times. Surprisingly it even ate a donut. It headed further down the tracks to the south of us.
We decided to head out after the train had gone through...around noon. Of course as we are heading down the track who would appear but Momma Blaze. Oh well, she came out along the tracks until we got within 50 feet of her…then disappeared into the woods.
Soo Junction Journal August 18, 2014
It was a cold foggy morning as we arrived at Soo Junction. Temperatures in the 40’s with a moist mist caused us to bundle up in our insulated bibs and heavy coats as we headed back to the blind.
There was no sign of bears as we got to the blind. We really didn’t expect to see them this early 8:15am especially with the cooler weather. We finally had some sandhill cranes fly into the north of us. Then a momma white-tailed doe and her one fawn. The fawn was leery of the sandills…running and popping into the woods. Then a bunny rabbit came running down the tracks and totally spooked the fawn. LOL! More sandhills flew in…and eventually wander down near us. The ravens were finally get more active…chasing a juvenile eagle down the tracks.
Finally Momma Blaze popped out at #1 around 9:30…but as she head down toward us she veered off to the east. We didn’t see her again till just before the morning train. Then she disappeared again at #2. She finally came out about a half an hour after the train went through. She finally made her way down to us. She is looking very healthy…finally filling out her sagging skin. She disappeared into the west and didn’t come back out while we were there. We waited for the noon train to go through heading back to the river before we called it a day. We are always happy to see at least one of our bears doing well. The berries and other natural foods are plentiful so hopefully the yearlings are out foraging in a berry patch.
Soo Junction Journal July 28, 2014
The day started out cold and windy with the temperatures in the 40’s…so it felt more like October instead of late July. We figured we would see any of our black bears to early. The bears hate the wind…hard for them to hear and smell out any danger. We did have a mature bald eagle waiting for us at #1. Then I spotted a black billed cuckoo….two sandhill cranes flew down the tracks, we had another mature eagle and a 2nd year eagle make an appearance, too.
Well, we hadn’t been in our blind more than twenty minutes when we spot Blaze out at #1. Of course, she slowly makes her way to us. That’s one way the wind coming from the north is good…she could smell the goodies we had for her. She was still being very cautious…stopping and looking behind her.
And the mosquitoes are back….poor Blaze’s head was covered with them…but still not as bad as they were earlier this summer.
She didn’t really spend too much time with us but headed north. Well, less than a half an hour later we understood why…wolves! We first spot one coming out at #2…at first we thought it was a coyote…until we really could get a good look. Then a second one came out…they were both young ones…look like this year’s pups. Well, the second one quickly went to the west while the first one was sniffing out what treats were left. Then all of a sudden two big gray wolves ran across the tracks heading west…that made FOUR wolves! Finally the young one decided it had better head out with the rest of the pack.
With wolves in the area we will definitely not see any little cubbies today or in the near future…and maybe not see any more bears either. Luckily wolves and cover 200 miles in a 24 hour period…so hopefully they will move out of this area quickly.
But less than forty minutes later…out came one of the yearling quads at #2. It sniffed and sniffed around down where the wolves had been. It went back and forth from east to west making sure the wolves weren’t still around. Then it headed down to us on the run. It would stop and look behind it…smart bear. When it got almost to us it dashed into the woods then came back out in another spot. It was our little runt, Cream aka Little Princess. She would snatch a treat then take into the woods using a different path each and every time she went in and out. Clever little girl…throwing off her scent so any predator wouldn’t know which way to go first. She is definitely a survivor.
We thought she had left us…I was watching to the north of us and Michael was watching a fisher to the south of us…when all of a sudden I heard something and there she was…right in front of us!!! We need to work on our hunting skills. LOL!
Well, we finally got froze out…so we head back to the depot after the morning train headed back to the river.
Soo Junction Journal July 21, 2014
Our very first visitor of the day along the Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley was Chubby Bubby...one of the yearling quads...son of Blaze. He is usually the first out to eat...hence his name unless ousted by his momma. Bodie and Noel loved seeing the yearlings. We got to see all four of them...but only two of them close up.
Look who visited Bodie, Noel and I along the tracks of the Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolleytoday!! Momma Blaze spent quite a bit of time with us. The kids loved it when she laid down in front of the blind and looked right up at us...and so did I.We even got to see all of her four yearlings from last year.
The littlest of the quad yearlings Dixie is calling Cream...her bigger sister that she usually hangs with is Peaches.Well, little Cream came out right after her momma, Blaze, left. Unfortunately, Michael was on the speeder coming to get us...but she didn't get off the tracks till he got within 50 feet or so from him. Then as we were leaving she came back out...to say 'good bye' to Bodie and Noel...they loved it!
Soo Junction Journal July 14, 2014
Finally back along the tracks of the Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley. We were greeted by Momma Blaze...she followed us down to our blind. We even got to see three of her four yearling cubs from last year pay us a visit. We had a fisher, sandhill cranes, bald eagle and six black bears total. Our first yearling to show up was Chubby Bubby...one of the quads from last year. He usually is down at number #1 to greet us...but his momma took that spot over. It was very interesting that he came out when Scar-let was coming down...his momma, Blaze, ran him back into the woods to get him out of harm's way. Even though she kicked them out to be on their own...she still would protect them from another bear. Then there were the girls....two more of Momma Blaze's quadruplets from last year. The little one came out first...followed by the bigger more aggressive girl. They had a little squabble then settled in to eat together. The yearlings once they are kicked out...don't usually spend time together. We were really excited when we had Momma Bella pay us a visit. She is one of two bears that should have little ones this year. Her appearance means the male bears have finally moved on...and hoping to see her little ones in the near future. Black bears will send their babies up a tree while they search for food. Big Momma Scar-let is the other black bear that should have babies this year. She arrived around the same time that Bella did. Interesting that they would actually eat 'together' separated only by about 50 yards. I guess new mommas have to stick together...at least when they don't have their cubbies with them. Hope to see little cubbies next weekend. We even got to get some shots of a fisher. It really wanted to come in but caught sight of me and my camera and headed back into the woods. We had something to entertain us the whole morning. Hope to see little cubbies next weekend.
Soo Junction Journal June 23, 2014
The morning was overcast and cool which is perfect for seeing black bears and photographing them.
As we got to the #1 station we had one of the quads waiting for us. He stood up to check to see if we were going to stop. He ran in front of us to the feeding area. We dropped him a bag of treats as we passed. It was the male that I call Chubby Bubby. It took him a little while to find but he finally laid down to eat…before the ravens swooped in to nab the treats.
As we neared #2 station another of the quads popped out and ran across in front of us. We dropped of treats for that one, too. It came out a little before another bigger bear showed up.
We got ourselves settled in the blind with the swarm of mosquitoes that were happy to see us. We had to keep our mouths covered so we didn’t inhale any.We finally got situated and our bigger bear at #2 started to come down our way. The closer it got we could make out the dark face of Momma Blaze…the momma of last year’s quads. She kicked them out early this spring so that she could mate and have cubs this next winter. Black bears have babies every two years…if their health and the winter allows for it.
Poor Momma Blaze was covered with a mass of mosquitoes. She was batting at them constantly as she walked and when she finally got up to us to eat. After she had her fill she wandered off into the woods to the west.
Another bigger bear came out at #2 but waddled clear down to #1. We never did get a closer look at it…but it appeared to be Big Bubba. It was definitely bigger than Blaze and she is the largest female we have around…bigger than another male that visited us two weeks ago.
Well, the mosquitoes finally abated after we put up our OFF fan…and the breeze picked up. We had sandhill cranes flying up and down the tracks…and yearlings wandering around.
Finally we had one of the yearlings come out to the north of us. It laid down to eat corn…and eat…and eat. Finally a second yearling came out and wandered down toward the other one. The first one took off into the woods to the west. The second one took its place eating corn.
It wasn’t more than ten minutes when a third yearling came out and started toward the one eating. It was a little leery of the one eating. It would dash in the woods then come right back out. Before long the two were laying down…eating side by side. These must the two girls. They we usually allow a sibling etc. to feed with them. The boys on the other hand like to be one their own.
Well, the girls kept eating along with sandhill cranes. A pair of sandhills came down as far as the speeder. It was fun to watch them. They were bothered by the bugs too but they just picked them off and ate them!
Finally, as I was watching the two girls the third yearling popped out near our blind. He cautiously came down. He walked past the speeder to check it out then came down to eat. We were able to get some nice shots of him. You can tell he is his momma’s boy…he has her black face. I’ve decided to call him Darth.
While we were watching the three yearlings to the north…the fourth one was wandering back and forth along the tracks to the south. This seems to be his domain. He finally made it down to #2 just as we were heading out for the day. I think we could have stayed all day and seen bears. We got to the blind around 8:15am and left at 1:30pm. The quads seem to be spending a lot of time wandering up and down and in and out near the three feeding stations and our blind. So it should be a good summer for the train to see bears.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited