Groundhogs, a Little Bear, and a Hawk

Top Photo: Oak stump and resident groundhog.

Strolling through Wander Away in Catch the Wind, I noticed a gray, furry head poking out from the side of a large oak stump on the side of the path. I immediately stopped and reached for my camera. Inching forward, I was able to get a few shots of the young groundhog whose head was posed at the entrance to its burrow, its nose twitching for scent.

Groundhog is dead center of photo.
Sniffing the air to discover who the intruder is.

Groundhogs are fairly common sights here at the museum, and besides the Wander Away groundhog the one who resides in the Black Bear Enclosure is probably the best known. This groundhog has acquired a bit of celebrity lately due to the attention drawn to the bear yard by the introduction of our new cub. Visitors are eager to head towards the enclosure in hopes of getting a glimpse of the little bear, and of course, they invariably see the groundhog hunting down bear food.

The bear-yard groundhog testing the air for bear chow.

Our 9 month old, 66 pound black bear cub, has been a challenge to see during its first week with access to the bear yard, until this morning (11/12). She came out from the protection of “her” fenced yard and dined with the three adult bears in the enclosure, Mimi, Gus, and Yona.

Sticking close to fence and entrance to her “sanctuary.”

As things are now, your best bet for seeing her is in the morning, though as time goes by and she becomes more familiar with her surroundings, and the other much larger bears, she may make more frequent and lengthy forays into the main enclosure. It’s worth the effort to hike out to the bear enclosure and give it a try.

The little bear out looking for peanuts in bear enclosure.

So far, the Secondary Bear Overlook is where most sightings are occurring. I was able to get a few photos of the little bear through the chain link fence (above), but again, as time goes on she’ll wander farther afield making for unobstructed views and better photos.

As always, when hiking through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, keep an eye out for other wildlife.

Red-shouldered hawk in tree directly over path.

See you at the bears. Check this out.

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