Mama bear seems to call to her cubs down on the ground.
I was at a neighbor’s house, and suddenly, we witnessed four black bears emerging from the woods in the back of their yard: a mother and her three adolescent cubs. Black bears are not very large, not terribly aggressive, and will usually avoid humans, although they do have a reputation for living near humans, because of easy access to trashcans and the smell of cooking food. Many homeowners around here chain down the lids of their trashcans or even lock them. Raccoons are also a problem.
Black bears are very common in the western North Carolina mountains, and are especially easy to spot in the fall, since they are out foraging for food before winter sets in. They are not endangered here because many people are so entranced with them, they actually leave out food to attract them.
On this day, my neighbor and I could see them lumbering closer until they finally stopped under a berry tree almost directly under the second floor window we were looking out of. Mama was the first to climb up the tree (the bears’ agility is amazing for their size and shape), and she seemed to “call” to her cubs to come get some berries. The cubs seemed pretty content to graze on the ground looking for berries that had dropped there, although one did attempt to climb up there with Mom, but wasn’t too successful at it.
After the bears ate their fill, they lumbered off across a field into another part of the woods.
I wish the pictures were clearer, but at least we were pretty close!
I had a wonderful time with my son in Florida. It’s amazing what a week away can do for your soul. I stayed away from the news, and therefore had no idea what was going on in Trumpland, and didn’t really care either (I was able to put my concern on hold while I was away).
I will post a selection of photos I took later, but my son, who is a professional videographer now, took these amazing photos of some sea birds when we went out to Anclote Key (a national park consisting of a group of small uninhabited islands and sandbars about 4 miles into the Gulf of Mexico from Tarpon Springs). This is a wonderfully remote place, accessible only by boat. The many tidal pools are a shellers’ paradise. There are two ferries that go there several times a day.
I had a great time, and got to spend more time with my son this time than last year, since he took a few days off work, but it’s still good to be back. (Well, sort of).
Brevard, North Carolina, is just to the southwest of where I live, in Transylvania County.
Transylvania County was named that because of its physical resemblance to the Transylvania area of the Carpathians of Romania. In fact, the movie “Cold Mountain,” which takes place in western North Carolina during the Civil War, was actually filmed in the Transylvanian part of Romania due to the less developed, mountainous terrain which would have resembled western North Carolina during Civil War times (also because it was cheaper to film it there). Even today, the appearance of both areas are strikingly similar, as the below photos show. They also share a similar climate and rural mountain culture.
Transylvania, Carpathians, Romania
Whitewater Falls, Transylvania County, NC in the autumn
It rains a lot in western North Carolina, but nowhere does it rain as much as it does in Transylvania County, which is actually classified as a temperate rainforest. Transylvania is also known for its many waterfalls. Within this temperate rainforest lives a unique creature that lives nowhere else on earth: the white squirrel. It’s not an albino, because its eyes are pigmented, but other than its unusual color, it’s a perfectly normal squirrel. No one is quite sure why the squirrel (also known as the Brevard squirrel) evolved a bright white coat in an area that doesn’t normally get an abundance of snow.
Otters are my second favorite animal. There are many different types of otters–here are some of them. I think the drawings are adorable. I hope you can read the captions–I couldn’t make the chart any larger.