A good day for wildlife on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Banner day Sunday for wildlife on the Blue Ridge Parkway as I rode my motorcycle from Mabry Mill towards Virginia Rte. 8 and Floyd.

First, a fully-grown black bear bounded across the road about 50 feet in front of me near the intersection with Black Ridge Road. I braked but the bear was across the road and into the bushes before I approached its crossing point.  It headed down the hill towards Chatau Morrisette winery. A little wine perhaps.

A few more miles down, just before Rocky Knob overlook, a doe grazed along side of the road. I slowed and then stopped on the road. Deer too often lunge at the last minute and I hit one on my previous bike last year on U.S. 221 at the bottom of Bent Mountain.

This doe, however, seemed more curious than scared. With the bike still running, I reached back to my saddlebag and pulled out a camera. She regarded me with curiosity as I snapped a half-dozen photos and then went back to grazing.

(Photographer's note: For those who think wildlife photos are only possible with lots of expensive equipment and long lens, this shot was taken with a Canon G9 "point and shoot" set on automatic.)

Banner day Sunday for wildlife on the Blue Ridge Parkway as I rode my motorcycle from Mabry Mill towards Virginia Rte. 8 and Floyd.

First, a fully-grown black bear bounded across the road about 50 feet in front of me near the intersection with Black Ridge Road. I braked but the bear was across the road and into the bushes before I approached its crossing point.  It headed down the hill towards Chatau Morrisette winery. A little wine perhaps.

A few more miles down, just before Rocky Knob overlook, a doe grazed along side of the road. I slowed and then stopped on the road. Deer too often lunge at the last minute and I hit one on my previous bike last year on U.S. 221 at the bottom of Bent Mountain.

This doe, however, seemed more curious than scared. With the bike still running, I reached back to my saddlebag and pulled out a camera. She regarded me with curiosity as I snapped a half-dozen photos and then went back to grazing.

(Photographer’s note: For those who think wildlife photos are only possible with lots of expensive equipment and long lens, this shot was taken with a Canon G9 "point and shoot" set on automatic.)

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7 Responses

  1. I never have seen one in Asheville whcih is where I live but just the other day when camoing in Fancy Gap we were hiking a trail in the Music Center and I spotted what looked like a full grown mountain Lion. Strong, stealth and muscular. It startled me so that it kind of rattled me to take a different trail. I didn;t know they were around the area.

  2. …they never took georgraphy in school so they don’t always know that they’re in a an area where the academic types claim they aren’t. Also, the feds imported mountain lions into the area some years back to try and control the deer population. Didn’t take the cats long to learn that cattle move slower than deer and have more meat on their bones.

    Short answer: Yes, we do have mountain lions in the Blue Ridge.

  3. Indeed, the ‘big cat’ is here. Coming home from Woodberry Inn, just south of Rocky Knob along the BRP a couple years ago, my family and I saw a large one jump down from above the road and cross over into a field. It crossed the road slowly; no doubt about it, it was a mtn lion. My children were very pleased to see it, too. As it moved down into the field below the road grade, I turned our truck off the parkway and followed it with the lights for several minutes. It never seemed concerned about our presence…then it wondered off into the night.

    My wife is the luckiest…she’s seen several others before and after.

  4. i was one the other day at the smokey moutains national park.  i didn’t think anything of it until i went to look them up today online only to learn that there aren’t any there (officially).  but i did see it from about 20 feet and i know a cat from a bear from a deer.

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