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Beginnings, Beauty, and Best Wishes - UPDATE August 13, 2018

Another fun day with bears! Stars included Jack, Big Harry, Lily and others. Loons making a heart - D. BradleyLoons making a heart
by D. Bradley
Along the way, Black Bear Field Study Course participants Denise Bradley and Linda Pottinger captured pictures that symbolized the beginnings of what brought so many together for bears, some of the beauty of the day, and two loons that collaborated to create a heart that some said expressed good wishes. See what you think.

Shadow - by D. BradleyShadow
by D. Bradley
Their picture of Shadow from last evening nicely showed her current state of gray. This matriarch represents the beginning of the clan that produced June, Lily, Hope, Faith, Jason, Eli, Ellie, Jewel, Fern, Herbie and so many other bears we have come to know.

Another beginning is the den where Lily gave birth to Hope—a den that has become a mecca of sorts that we visited today. The rocks in the picture were all thrown out from that shoreline den by the bear that made the den some year before Lily used it. Many people who visit it exclaim, “I didn’t know it was so close to the shore.”Lilys and Hopes den from 2010 - L. PottingerLilys and Hopes den from 2010
by L. Pottinger

Part of that beginning was a significant experience at the eagle nest tree that is still being visited by one of the pair. In the fall of 2009, Lily was bedded at the base of that tree. I needed help adjusting Lily’s radio collar. By that time, we had found the den where we believed Lily would spend the winter. I asked the landowner if he would help me. He and his wife were wary of bears and a little uncertain about a bear spending the winter on the property. He fed Lily some nuts while I worked on her collar. He got into it. Eagle in nest tree by D. BradleyEagle in nest tree
by D. Bradley
I took my time on the collar. Lily won him over. He and his wife cooperated with the den cam idea in every possible way they could, including a phone line into their garage so we could send the video from Lily’s den cam to South Africa for broadcast to the internet. Lily made that beginning possible by being her usual self at the base of the eagle tree where an eagle was sitting today.

Beauty that they captured today also included a family of mallards on blue water and the vivid blue of a mallard’s speculum.

News from the Bear Center is that the mother garter snake measures 26 inches and two of her newborn babies measure 7 ¼ and 7 ½ inches, which is nearly as big as the resident redbelly snake at 9 inches. Those are the only two kinds of snakes that live in the Ely area.

Mallard family by D. BradleyMallard family
by D. Bradley
Mallard Speculum by L. PottingerMallard Speculum
by L. Pottinger

A note to people coming to the remaining WRI Black Bear Field Study Courses: After leaving the town of Soudan on Highway 169, don’t pay attention to the GPS on your cell phone. Don’t get re-routed off of 169 onto 6 mile road. Stay on 169, looking for mile marker 172. Go 0.3 mile farther and turn right (south) on Trygg Road. Go a little over 1.4 mile on Trygg to the first driveway on your left.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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