We were walking the dog down the “middle road” yesterday that runs fifty feet above Nameless Creek through the rhododendrons as we often do; Ann is out ahead, as she often is. Fred is tagging along behind, turning rocks, scratching and sniffing, as he almost always is.
“It’s a bear!” she hollers, as the dog rockets up the steep bank after the black backside of a bear. We hear Tsuga barking a hundred yards and another 50 feet higher than the road, but can see nothing through the tangle of rhododendron and Mt. Laurel.
Short of it: after much whooping and hollering on our part to discourage the bear from coming back down the hill towards us (as if he would), the same antics brought the dog down in a few minutes, unharmed. This time.
And yesterday at dusk, it sounded like a kennel of dogs on the hillside, except their sound was more piercing-yelping-howling than the usual mix of canines–at least a dozen of them.
We don’t usually see them, but more and more often, we’re hearing coyotes at the end of our valley. A while later while I was watering the garden, some of our usual fighter-jet trainers zoomed close overhead. I don’t know if the coyotes were frightened by it, were joining the “song” of this obvious alpha male overhead, or are just especially patriotic in a bellicose and particularly noisy way, supporting our soldiers overhead; but they went into howling overdrive with the jet noise.
I just hope they stay down at their end of the valley. There are far too many for even a 85 pound yellow lab to take on. Or a 175 pound geezer or 110 pound geezerette. (In truth, I’d be shocked to ever actually get close enough to see them, and only worry about their dental interactions with our chickens, when they finally come back big enough to not be snake-food.)