Thursday, February 07, 2008

Neighborhood Sighting ...

My Big Garden Bug

We live in a small neighborhood of 8 houses, only a few miles from busy roads, honking horns, Whole Foods, the veterinarian and a host of other merchants and service oriented places. So it isn't always peaceful and quiet. We hear sirens from fire trucks, ambulances and the police from time to time. When that happens the dogs in the house across the river start howling off key and
often carry on for a good five minutes after the screaming vehicle has passed. It's really quite funny and I'm surprised that my two don't join in.

It isn't like this is the wilderness. However we do have more deer than we need, skunks, opossums, racoons, river otters, beavers, rabbits, squirrels and a miriad of birds including ospreys and bald eagles. We occasionally see a fox and one night a couple of years ago a bear made mincemeat out of one of my bird feeders. A coyote has
also been spotted. I have not actually seen the last two critters myself but they are often seen in the area so I have no doubt that they slip through my radar very easily.

But it's the latest sighting that really intrigues me. Reports this morning were of a large animal at my neighbor's dock and was said to be either a mountain lion or a bob cat. Bob cats are usually very shy creatures and difficult to see. The sighting of a mountain lion would be quite fantastic but in reality I'm not sure I believe it. But then on the other hand land development in this area, like the rest of the east coast, has been intensifying at a rapid rate as the population expands. More and more people want a piece of the countryside for their homes, especially in a scenic area as this one, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. So it may not be terribly surprising that a mountain lion might be driven from its territory and end up in a crowded suburban area. As homes encroach up the mountain sides, the native inhabitants need to go somewhere. And soon there will be few places for them to escape to without running into humans.

So whatever it was that was sighted, I wish it well and hope that it will soon find a new home in a less congested area. In the meantime, I'll keep a sharp eye on my three kitties who like to spend their days hunting in the tall grass in the meadow.


marja-leena said...

Love your garden bug! We live between the sea and the mountains, and have regular sightings of raccoons, deer, bears in the summer/fall; coyotes are seen even in Vancouver, the odd cougar in the mountains. The city keeps growing up the mountain sides pushing these creatures out of their homes, just like in your area and so many other places. I love that we still have a vast wilderness up behind.

Lucy said...

I still can't imagine what it's like to have bears in your garden!