Friday, August 1, 2014

The Bear Wallow

In the Big Woods within 25 miles of here there are several clusters of vernal pools that local folks have usually called “bear wallows”. In normal years these pools fill with water in late fall, then in the spring serve as breeding sites for frogs, toads and salamanders and typically dry up late in the summer. Because they dry up and can’t support fish populations, amphibians can successfully breed there. Virtually all of the pools appear to be what a geologist friend calls pingo scars. What’s a pingo scar? – That’s for the next  post.
Because these pools attract all sorts of wildlife from fairy shrimp to black bears I decided to place a camera trap beside one of the pools that retains water longer than most. In one week the camera captured a good sample of the visiting wildlife.
This pool usually contains some wood frogs and green frogs – the frogs drew an opossum and a raccoon that were both looking for a meal.

The pools edge is always tracked up by deer, although they seldom seem to actually enter the water.

And, the vernal pool lived up to its other name when a bear came to soak in the water –

That’s just one week’s yield from the camera trap at the bear wallow.

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