The Bear Ridge!

The bear ridge is located close to our house and has become a regular haunt for us, especially in the evenings. It is only a 5 minute drive by track or 15 minutes on foot. Of all the wildlife seen to date in Transylvania I have viewed more from this ridge than anywhere else. Sightings include deer, lynx, buzzards, lesser spotted eagle, hoopoe, cuckoos, storks, woodpeckers, wild boar, and of course brown bear. We also know that a large 70kg male wolf frequents this area, but alas he remains elusive to us.

David on the lookout for bears

We used to call this place the ridge, but that changed after a last minute impromptu visit in June 2009 when we had our first encounter with a brown bear. Usually we travel to hides to view bears with a local ranger which  requires several hours patiently waiting for bears to enter a clearing in moon or twilight. That evening in June the weather was warm and the sun slowly setting behind us. We were raising our voices to hear ourselves talking as there was a lot of  background noise from crickets and skylarks. Foxy was performing her usual acrobats in the meadow flushing out birds hidden amongst the tall grass.

As we walked closer to the ridge we spotted a deer, which with a very keen eye you can see at 2 o clock over David's right shoulder.

David photographing wildlife on the Bear Ridge

The ridge overlooks meadow land which joins the forests of the Vrancea. These meadows are grazed by sheep and cows, containing a rich variety of grass and wild flowers producing high quality milk and cheese. I decided to take a few photos of the flowers to give you an idea of what this meadow produces. However, close up work of anything with my camera soon stimulates Foxy's interest!

Foxy on Bear Ridge

Relaxing on the bear ridge

Foxy & Laura on the bear ridge

As always it is Laura that spots the first signs of activity. Within minutes she spotted two further deer that were grazing at about 500 metres. Suddenly a larger animal loomed from the trees at about 400 metres to our left. Laura asked me what it was and instantly I realised we were looking at a brown bear. The photos don't really do this sighting justice but it is the best David could produce with his camera equipment. If only we had a zoom lens!

Laura looking for wildlife

Brown Bear on Bear Ridge

Brown Bear

Sightings of a bear in such good light conditions especially out in the open so close to the village in June are rare as there is a plentiful supply of food in the forest. It had been raining earlier in the day, the sun was out and the air felt fresh. The bear was probably enjoying the warming sun just as much as we were!

This particular evening proved to be more fruitful than we previously first thought. David my cousin managed to capture this image of what we thought was a buzzard but has recently been confirmed to be a Lesser Spotted Eagle by a specialist ornithologist! This is fantastic news as several of them frequent this area.

Lesser Spotted Eagle

The bear ridge offers spectacular sunsets which are regular and consistent during the summer months.  Laura finishes work at 7pm and then we're off for our evening visit. Foxy's built in body clock seems to be tuned in to this time as she starts pacing close to the Land Rover approximately ten minutes before departure. When she sees the door open she's in like a dart!

Walking the Bear ridge at Sunset

The 'Bear Ridge' at sunset

In 2012 I hosted four Wildlife Media students from Cumbria University, who joined us for two weeks of fieldwork experience. They turned out to be a dedicated and hard working group of conservationists that demonstrated excellent knowledge and skills. After travelling right across Europe in a Land Rover to join us spending the first evening on the bear ridge is always a nice introduction to the local wildlife and environment.

Waiting for the bears!

Safety Tips - Bears