Saturday, September 12, 2009

Barred Owl in the Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains...and a bear in Asheville, NC!

My cousin, Steve, who lives with his family in beautiful, beautiful Asheville, North Carolina just sent me these shots of a Barred Owl. He, Kim and Zander were camping in the Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when they stumbled upon this unsuspecting slumbering owl. Looks like he groggily opened his eyes for the second shot. What a beauty!

A Barred Owl sleeping deep in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains...


(For close-up photos of a Barred Owl, click here.)

Here is another photo Steve sent me. This one from his backyard....what do you think?


Isn't that cool? This guy weighs about 400 lbs according to the wildlife biologist who measured its tracks and studied several photos of it. The picture is about 4 years old, but the bear visits his neighborhood regularly. There are also smaller bears that come around. Coyotes visit as well as bobcats. Last year a few neighborhood cats went missing... Also last year they had a hen turkey and 16 chicks staying in their yard. The fowl seemed to like roosting on their compost pile. If I list out all the birds that visit his backyard, the post would go on forever. Needless to say, I'm jealous... Asheville, NC is a birder's wonderland.

30 comments:

Mary said...

What I think, is that I would not want that visitor in my backyard! But what a great shot! Love that owl. I wish I had a nice owl living near me...they are so fascinating.

Caroline said...

Well I think WOW!! Amazing shots!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I agree Kel... All of that mountainous area in and around Asheville is gorgeous --for many reasons.

That is a great picture of the sleepy owl... AND that is one big black bear. Looks like he has had a feast on the cats and other critters in that area. GADS!!!!

Have a great weekend.
Hugs,
Betsy

John said...

The Barred Owl is wonderful Kelly, the second photo looked like me early this morning. Not sure what I would do if I came across a huge Black Bear in my backyard....Brilliant photos.

John

Warren Baker said...

Ah! The grass is always greener.... great looking owl though!

ShySongbird said...

Beautiful photos of the Owl, I'm not at all jealous, of course I'm not....hmm!

As for a bear in the garden, oh my goodness :)

holdingmoments said...

Imagine, a bear in the garden!
Make a change from stray cats. lol
That must be quite a sight to come face to face like that.

JKoenig said...

I think I would rather have the owl than the bear in my backyard, but what a beautiful creature he is.

Jenny said...

Those are fabulous Owl photos. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to have a bear as a local resident! Amazing in one way and a wee bit scary in another!

Roy said...

Great photos Kelly, don't think I would like that 400 pounder in the back garden though.

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Well, I will say the same as Mary, birds visiting your backyard that is ok, but a bear of 400lbs, well I wouldn't like this!! Although I would like to see one in my life, not in my backyard would be a better place!

Jim H said...

The photos of the owl are great, but I REALLY love the one of the black bear. The sun shining through the reeds or grass behind it, gives the bear an aura. Special photo.

Laure Ferlita said...

Wow, so the special, magical touch runs through the whole family then - this ability to find creatures, large and small, no matter where you go!

DK Miller said...

Great photos! Love the bear though i wouldn't want them in my back yard. that would make me nervous but how beautiful!

Susan Ellis said...

Great photos! we also have had bears in our backyard...though not quite so close this year, as we've learned to keep our garbage in the shed. The animal control officer uses heated up bacon grease and doughnuts to catch them! (when they come too close to town)

Tammie Lee said...

Oh my gosh, the cutest owl and the biggest bear. Quite exciting all in all!
Spirithelpers

Elaine said...

What a great capture your cousin had of the Barred Owl. Those are beautiful shots. I hope to never see a bear in my backyard, although they are certainly in the woods around Fairbanks, along with grizzlies and wolves. They don't usually get as close to town as I am, but it can happen.

Steve said...

Great Owl shots and a Bear in the yard, fantastic!

Jayne said...

Gulp. I'd hate to see that roaming in my backyard! Love those owl shots. :c)

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I guess so. We haven't been there since the kids were small enough to fit in one car. Nice photographs you got.

Sue said...

What a super shot of the bear. My, he IS big, isn't he? I like to see them-in the distance-but not in my yard. Your cousin can KEEP him!
The owl though-, I'd take him!

yen said...

I love Owls, and great shot.
Gonna try owling this coming weekend, we will see if I managed to get some for myself too.

Montanagirl said...

Love the Owl shots! The bears I can do without, but it's still a great photo.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. I passed on your comments to Steve. The mountains of Asheville, NC are special. It would be so fun to have such varied wildlife all around. I've never seen a bear in the wild...I think I would love it, but then I would run inside!

Ginnymo said...

What beautiful photos you got Kelly!! I love that owl and the bear is so cute!!

Kerri said...

WOW! Great shots! That owl is awesome...but I don't think I'd want to get too close to that bear ;)

woodpecker said...

I'm not sure what I would do if I saw that Black Bear in my garden, I am more used to Black Cats. Lovely pictures though.

Greener Bangalore said...

oh god its soo scarey......my goodness......how did you managed to take that snap ??????

Snappy Di said...

We had a black bear in our neighborhood earlier this summer. Not in our yard, but about 2 houses down from us. Not something I want to ever come across while walking out to my mailbox.... always have to be on alert here in the Blue Ridge Mountains....

Great shot of the bear!

Di

dAwN said...

I really love Asheville, NC..beautiful town..
Nice photos from your friends!