For many years now, while their population has been growing in northwest New Jersey, black bears have been frequently sited around the Township environs. Laura's earliest bear sightings went back to her preschool days, when a bear decided to crash their outdoor ice cream party at Mustard Seed School, sending all the children and teachers hurrying into the school. (yes, the bear got the ice cream.) During her RVS years, there were periodic bear sightings, and the "walkers" as opposed to the schoolbused children, had to stay back until the all clear. Around our house they would pass by from time to time, crisscrossing the woods and wetlands on tracks and missions known only to them, and periodically open our garbage can and take a sack into the woods to glean a feast. I can remember how Laura and all of us rushed to the window one morning in 2006 to watch one take a bag of garbage to his liking and make off with it. I'm so glad Laura had that close, safe look. Earlier this year, when lone bears looking for new territories would be expected, there didn't seem to be too many around, but lately numerous appearances of sows and cubs in our vicinity have made up for it.
A mother bear and cubs visited our neighbor two houses away about a week ago. Photos by Scott Hendricks.