Monday, August 11, 2014

Moose on the Loose & Bears on a Tear

I am quite a bit late in reporting this but better late than never...

Aton Forest had a particularly large visitor throughout the summer - a bull moose was spotted on three separate occasions on the preserve.  It is becoming less and less rare to spot a moose in northwestern Connecticut these days, though still uncommon. Great Mountain Forest has a number that roam about, one was unfortunately struck by a vehicle on Route 44 in Norfolk this year, and another was viewed for a while in Canaan Valley, also this year.  The moose seen here was first noted on June 27th by myself while pulling into the office around 6:45am before a breeding bird survey.  I noticed a large brown furry object about 100 yards up from the driveway and proceeded to follow with my car.  The "object" began to run and then turned uphill to tear through the forest.  I got a good look at the animal, noticing its velvet rack, but not long enough to snap a picture.  The second occurrence was by John Anderson and Fran Zygmont while conducting a breeding bird survey on Chimney Hill at about 10:00am on July 13th.  Fran managed to snap some photos (one posted below with a circle around the hard to see moose) and a video.  Lastly, Ryan Carrigan spotted the moose from John's house off of State Line Hill Rd at about 11:00am on August 6th.  This moose was the first ever noted on the property by Aton Forest staff (others in the area had reported them to us as recent as last year).

Also this summer a sow bear and her three cubs were spotted in John's field off of State Line Hill Rd.  They were observed by Jeff Merritt in the early morning on July 30th.  Apparently they had been aggressively rooting in certain areas.

- Ryan Williams (Conservation Assistant)

Photo: Fran Zygmont