Posted tagged ‘Black bear Provincetown’

Top Five Posts of 2012

December 30, 2012

Our end of year countdown continues with the top five stories, written in 2012, on Out Walking the Dog.  For the first half of the top ten stories, covering coyotes, red-tailed hawks, NYC dogs, and feral cats, visit Top Posts of 2012, Part One.)

Click on each title to go to the original post. Enjoy!

Delmarva Fox Squirrel, photo by Mary Shultz.

Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Photo: Mary Shultz.

5. The Endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel was inspired by my friend Mary’s sightings and photographs of an unusually big and beautiful squirrel on her property on the eastern shore of Maryland. I had never before heard of the species, which turns out to be the biggest tree squirrel in North America. Of course, I had barely heard of Delmarva, the long peninsula that belongs to Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and includes the islands of Chincoteague and Assoteague, where the famous ponies run. Now I hope to travel down to Delmarva in 2013 to see its horses and squirrels for myself.

Photo: WCBV

Photo: WCBV

4. A Black Bear Comes to Provincetown! Black bears are increasingly seen all over the northeast, including New York and New Jersey. And bears, as some hairy, masculine gay men call themselves, are long-time regular visitors and residents in Provincetown, Massachusetts. But the sight of an actual 200-pound black bear wandering around the narrow tip of Cape Cod was a notable wildlife sighting. The annual summer gathering known as Provincetown Bear Week was just a few weeks off, prompting many jokes about the young male bear being so eager to participate in the festivities that he arrived early.

Boston Globe.

Boston Globe.

8.  Hurricane Sandy Update: New York and Long Island.  As I watched Hurricane Sandy make a blur of  the world outside my New York City window, my brother rode out the storm at our family house on Long Island, providing eyewitness accounts of the flooding of our road, and of the interesting behavior of birds and foxes as the storm began.

Photo courtesy of Gigi A.

Photo courtesy of Gigi A.

9. Hunting for Central Park’s Black Squirrels.  After hearing repeatedly from people who spotted beautiful black squirrels in parks around the city, I became overwhelmed with the desire to see one for myself.  One day, following tips from other squirrel watchers, I set out to find one in Central Park. Black squirrels are actually a melanistic phase of NYC’s ubiquitous Gray squirrel, so a brief discussion of the natural history of the Gray squirrel is in order. Do I ever actually find a black squirrel?  You’ll just have to read the post to find out.

And the most-read post written in 2012 is …

Flying Point Beach. Photo: Andrew Cooper

Flying Point Beach. Photo: Andrew Cooper

10. Hurricane Sandy: Flying Point Road, Long Island Update. Written in the immediate aftermath of the great storm, this post describes a small stretch of road in eastern Long Island on which sits a one-time farmhouse that has belonged to my family since the 1960s. The once rural area is now home to mega-mansions, and building continues apace on every inch of available land. Global warming is effecting changes all along this once-rural coastal area that is now home to McMansions by the score.  Even now, development continues to gobble up the few remaining fields and marshlands, and houses perch on precarious ocean dunes and along the shore of the easily flooded bay. Photographs and video show the area during peaceful summer scenes as well as in the fury of the storm.

Thank you for visiting Out Walking the Dog in 2012. Here’s to 2013!


A Black Bear Comes To Provincetown!

June 9, 2012

A handsome young male black bear has turned up in Provincetown, Massachusetts at the very tip of the Cape Cod peninsula, 30 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Uncredited photo of Cape Cod bear on WCBV website.

The bear probably swam across the Cape Cod Canal, which separates the peninsula from the mainland, in his search for a mate.  Since Memorial Day, he has been spotted all over the Cape, making his way from Sandwich to Barnstable, Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro and, finally, Provincetown, the end of the road.

The bear, whose age is estimated at two or three, may be the first bear ever on Cape Cod and is certainly the first in several hundred years.  He has been spotted in the National Seashore that stretches up the narrow neck of the Cape as well as trotting along by the side of Route 6.

Photo: Provincetown Police on Wicked Local Provincetown (click for article)

Authorities have been watching his progress, and trying to figure out what to do about his presence in the small, densely populated area of Provincetown. Traps were set in hopes of capturing and relocating him off-Cape in an area where he might find the love he’s looking for.

Yesterday, the Cape Cod Times reported the traps were being removed and attempts to capture the bear were being suspended.  State wildlife officials, who will be monitoring the bear’s presence closely, seem to be hoping he will head back the way he came from, staying out of trouble with humans.

Oddly enough, Provincetown is accustomed to bears, but bears of a very different kind.

Gay Bear Pride.

The term “bear” is used for a member of a gay subculture that, according to the Beltway Bears, “don’t feel comfortable with the prevailing standard defining stereotypes of what a gay man should be or look like,” and instead “prefer men who act masculine, are physically affectionate (Bear hugs!) and who are low/no attitude.”  Or as a colleague, a proud bear, recently put it, bears are typically “big, hairy guys who like other big, hairy guys.”

Every summer, the Provincetown Bears host Bear Week, when human bears from around the world gather to meet and celebrate.  A joke running around Provincetown is that the Black bear is just a few weeks early; Bear Week doesn’t start until July 7th.

But back to wildlife. Black bears are shy and rarely aggressive toward humans. To minimize contact, humans in bear country should secure all trash in bear-proof containers and take down bird feeders. Here are guidelines from the American Bear Association in case you do encounter a bear:

  • Stay calm. DO NOT RUN (running may elicit a chase response by the bear)
  • Pick up children so they don’t run or scream.
  • Avoid eye contact and talk in a soothing voice.
  • If the bear stands up, he is NOT going to attack but is curious and wants a better sniff or view
  • Back away slowly. If the bear chomps their jaw, lunges or slaps the ground or brush with paw he feels threatened.
  • Slowly retreat from the area or make a wide detour around the bear. DO NOT block or crowd the bear’s escape route.

Please let me know if you hear more about Cape Cod’s roaming Black bear.

Liam Crivellaro, 13, of West Barnstable shot video of the black bear climbing down a tree on Memorial Day. South Coast Today (click for article)

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