Black Rock Forest, 06/24/18

~Black Bear in the rain at Black Rock Forrest, 06/24/18.~ 

This morning I hiked out at Black Rock Forrest again. I have enjoyed going out there – to me there is a sense of adventure involved because you never know what you might see. I had a birdy walk with mostly the usuals, but the day did end up being eventful.  I have to mention that the bugs were absolutely terrible on this hike. I walked around in a cloud of gnats and mosquitoes that never seemed to end. I’m usually fine with the insects on a trail; they don’t really bother me. But today it was overwhelming, to the point where it was affecting my birding because I didn’t want to stop as often as I normally would.

~This is a bird that I really like and I’m always happy  to get a look at (instead of just hearing it). Yellow-throated Vireo at Black Rock Forrest, 06/24/18.~ 

About an hour into the hike, I walked out into a clearing to find a relatively large black bear right in front of me. I took a quick series of photos, but I was nervous because I’d come out into the clearing  quite close to the bear. I made a bunch of noise, but the bear held its ground, so I decided that I did not need to continue on that trail any further and slowly retreated. Not long after that, I inadvertently flushed a RUFFED GROUSE as I walked along the trail. The bird was just off the trail and instead of taking flight, it fled into the forrest on foot – giving me (sadly) my best look at a RUGR to date. I lingered in the general vicinity for a good while, keeping still and hoping for a reemergence of the bird, but it was not to be. I think you only get one shot with these birds. My final event was not a good one. I was making my way back to my car, moving at decent pace. I stopped to listen as a distant (presumed) bear had heard me coming and was making its way through the woods at a rapid pace off to my right. I never saw the bear, but it made quite the ruckus. My next step happened to be on a wet rock and I wiped out pretty good. I was fine, but unfortunately my camera did not come out of it  unscathed. Fortunately the lens seems to be fine, but the body took a good blow and is not able to connect with the lens, so it looks like it will have to go in for repairs. I finished my hike having logged just over 6 miles, with 35 species of birds and who-knows-how-many mosquito bites.

~Gray Catbird at Black Rock Forrest, 06/24/18. ~ 

17 thoughts on “Black Rock Forest, 06/24/18”

  1. Wow, Matt! That was quite an adventure. Glad you saw the grouse again and that you didn’t hurt yourself with your fall. I’m not crazy about the bear or the mosquitoes, and the damaged camera! Ugh!!

    1. Yeah, Karen, it was a mixed bag for sure. I’d give up the bear and the grouse to have the camera in working order! Matt

  2. A Ruffed Grouse departing on foot and not with the usual explosive flush might indicate a mother trying to distract you from chicks. I’ve seen them do the broken wing act.

    1. James – I considered that possibility. If there were chicks, they were pretty well stashed. Which is a good thing. Matt

  3. Hi Matt,

    Loved reading about your adventure, GREAT shot of the bear which looked LARGE! The Grouse was an excellent find and it does sound like she was hastening from you but with babies in the area. You KNOW just how much I like BUGS, so I’m glad to not have had that experience today. Sorry, indeed, to hear of the damage to your camera. There is a big number of photographers to whom I would wish the same, but not you! Glad that you are OK.

    1. Ha ha Ken, good to hear you wouldn’t wish it on me. I’m glad you enjoyed the post – the bear WAS big, one of the biggest I’ve seen. You would not have enjoyed the bugs – I got eaten alive, lol. Matt

  4. Matt,
    That’s the best Yellow-throated Vireo shot I have seen.
    I almost got one, it turned it’s head just as the camera clicked
    and I got the rear end!!
    Great job.


  5. The shot of the Black Bear staring at you is simply amazing, Matt! He looks extremely healthy, and I’m so glad he did not become aggressive toward you. Your shot of the YTVI is lovely, such beautiful birds. Your fall sounded nasty, and, while I’m very happy you were uninjured, I’m very sorry to hear your camera was damaged. I hope it can be repaired quickly and easily. Black Rock Forest sounds like an amazing place to bird, and having Ruffed Grouse and Black Bears makes it all the more so.

    1. It was a large, healthy looking bear, that’s for sure. I’m glad it was unconcerned with me, although that being said, I think I’ve had my fill of bears for a little while. BRF is quite a place – it’s been nice to find a “new” spot for me in the county. Matt

  6. Great post, Matt. As a fellow-photographer, I can feel your pain literally and figuratively as I’ve had similar experiences. Seems like when we go down, our instinct is to protect the gear before ourselves! Hope the camera can be repaired in quick order so you can get back to reporting to us as usual. Amazing shot of the bear and a beauty of the YTVI. Get that camera back in action ASAP and as my Dad always used to tell me, “Stay Rightside Up!”

    1. “Stay Rightside Up!” – I like that, I will have make it my new mantra. I know you understand how bad it feels when your gear gets damaged, it’s terrible. I think, to some extent it’s unavoidable – I don’t want to restrict what I do when I have the camera, so I go in knowing the risks. Not that it helps when it happens. I’m working on the camera situation and it looks like getting a new camera body may be my best option. I’ll keep you posted. Matt

  7. Good luck with the new body. I just ventured into the world of mirrorless as lugging the 200-500 around for a full day got a bit tiring. With the new Lumix G9 system, my “long lens” is an equivalent of a 200-800 mm at less than half the weight of the Nikon beast. Still love that beast though and will be using it regularly on the hawk watch at Bear Mt.

    1. I had to look up the Lumix G9 – interesting, let me know what you think once you’ve used it for a bit. Nice to have options. Matt

  8. Matt

    I got the 80D a few months ago and I really like it so far
    and not a long learning curve after the 70D


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