Wildlife in Catawba

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The Catawba Valley is situated between Catawba Mountain and North Mountain. The Appalachian Trail runs along Catawba mountain. Sawtooth Ridge is the view from our house. There’s a parking lot at the top of Catawba Mountain and hikers can go to Sawtooth Ridge in one direction and McAfee’s Knob in the other. McAfee’s is the more challenging hike but you are rewarded with the most photographed view on the entire AT. You can see Catawba Valley, Carvin’s Cove and much of the Roanoke Valley. It’s breathtaking.

We live on North Mountain. One of the things we love most is seeing nature’s beauty all around us. The Blue Ridge mountains are gorgeous in themselves. Within the mountains, there are small streams and a nice pond by the Homeplace restaurant. Spring has sprung so the wildlife is out and about. Deer are plentiful and we often have several in the yard or see them in the fields. I see several rabbits each morning as I head off to work. We have chipmunks too.

We also have a whippoorwill we named Bill. It’s always a sure sign of summer when you hear the whippoorwill’s call. We hear Bill in the early evening and just before dawn. He’s a loud little guy and sometimes will keep you awake. But I love the call. Tonight we could hear two of them calling to each other.

Bear sighting

We made the mistake of leaving trash on our screened porch back in March. When we were gone, a bear busted through the screens and through the trash can. Lesson learned but the bear still came back another time or two looking for a repeat dinner. It even broke into the screens a second time, even with no trash.

Since then, I look out for the bear every morning as soon as I’m awake. We saw one early in the morning several years ago. A few weeks ago, I saw a big turkey in the front yard. Then, last week, as I was getting my coffee, there it was — a black bear walking through the back yard! I yelled for Greg as I grabbed my camera. He was walking toward the woods and our back field. I got several shots and Greg stepped outside and the bear turned to look and I got a few more pictures. Then he was off to the other field.

Greg thinks the bear wasn’t as big as the one that hit the porch and trashcan. Our neighbor later said the bear hit his trash the morning we saw it. We’re no bear experts, we’ll need to educate ourselves more! But our neighborhood collective thinks it’s anywhere from a year and a half to three years old and estimating it about 150 pounds.

This week, Roanoke media had stories about a bear wandering a neighborhood in Roanoke. It was sedated and relocated … to the country. Maybe it will meet our bear.

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