Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wildlife in the Smokies

When I was a kid, you couldn't go to the mountains without seeing bears. They were all over the road, begging for food. But they got to feeling entitled, and became dangerous, and the rangers had to ... discourage them. It wasn't easy, and it resulted in more than a few bears having to be killed, but it worked. Now bears are certainly around, but they aren't seen very often, and we didn't see any. Nor did we see any of the elk over on the North Carolina side, nor the eastern coyotes. But we did see deer!

These guys were grazing at the John Oliver place, unperturbed by the people walking on the path to and from the house. But some guy just had to walk out close to them, so they took off into the woods before we got up even with them. (What part of "do not approach or disturb the wildlife" didn't he understand, I wonder... and good thing for him it wasn't a bear.)

deer

Another deer

deer

Some butterflies: a buckeye, a swallowtail, a crescent, two crescents- one very raggedy, and some little blues

buckeye

I believe this to be an Appalachian swallowtail rather than an Eastern tiger. Cool to see one - it's a new species, developed through hybridization of the Eastern and the Canadian.

Appalachian swallowtail

checkerspot

raggedy checkerspot

blue butterflies

And some birds: a crow, a sparrow, and a thrasher

crow

sparrow

thrasher

And a parent sparrow with its baby among the graves

sparrows

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