Elk and wild Turkeys were spotted this last week in the area of the Oconoloftee Visitors Center in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, between the Smokemont Campground and the town of Cherokee on the highway, U.S. 441. I was off on vacation camping at the Smokemont Campground where I spotted these animals and the birds.
The Elk herd had been re-introduced back into the Great Smoky Mountains in about 2001 and seem to be doing quite well. I spotted 2 huge bulls and two unique groups of cow elk. I believe these are Roosevelt Elk but I am guessing about that. The turkeys were along side of the road on U.S. 441 as well.
The bull Elk ran into the area next to the parking lot of the Oconoloftee Visitors Center where it definitely was not supposed to be. Apparently there was an enticing small water hole with mud and the bull beelined straight for that mud and wallowed happily. After just a few moments, the elk was encouraged by a Federal employee (probably assigned to keep the elk in safe spots for themselves and the crowds of people observing the herd) via a pop of soft gun pellets and shouting to leave – and it quickly did.
I recommend going to Smokemont Campground in early Fall mid-week as it was uncrowded and had very clean restrooms and is beautiful (quite crowded in the areas near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge on the other side of the mountain an hour away). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
I spotted this small flock of Wild Turkeys in Northwestern Marion County, Florida on February 16, 2015, in a large cattle pasture. The birds were on the move and heading away from the road so it was quite fortunate that I got the pictures. These turkeys primarily eat grains and insects which are abundant in these wide open ranch areas. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Two days ago when out for a Sunday drive in the hinterlands of our community here in Cumberland County, TN, I spotted a Wild Turkey. The Turkey was just at the side of an infrequently travelled road where there were no houses at all. The hen Turkey was just walking around in the brush in a thicket of Oaks. Wild Turkeys are not often seen here in my community but I have seen them on three occasions in the past two years. Wild Turkeys eat grains, seeds, berries, acorns, some insects, and surprisingly, salamanders. I was not aware the Turkeys ate salamanders until I checked out the article on Wild Turkeys on the Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife Internet site. That fact about Turkeys eating salamanders is an interesting fact. Not that there are many salamanders in my area for the giant birds to eat. This hen Turkey is typical of the coloring and look of female Wild Turkeys. The males are slightly larger and have a larger blue head, a hanging wattle of skin and a feathered beard. I took the pictures from my car window on 3-27-11 in the mid-afternoon. Unfortunately there was a lot of grass and brush in the way that partially obscured the view of the Turkey. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
Here are my most recent round of bad pictures of deer, but know that I did my best! Last night my husband and I were out driving in the hinterlands of our community here in beautiful Cumberland County, TN, and we saw a total of 13 White-Tailed Deer in 4 locations! There were 4 bucks and the rest were does or we were unable to tell the gender. At one home, there were about 3 deer in the back yard and another 4 in front. I had to take the pictures from the car so I do apologize for how bad they all are. By the way, no pictures but we saw a gigantic flock of about 10 Wild Turkeys last night on that same drive. All of the animals and birds looked well-fed and in good condition.
This hen Wild Turkey was striding around the brushy grass along a roadway in our community just off of the dam of the largest lake in our community. I took these pictures from the car. We were out at about 1:00 pm. This set of pictures was taken on Saturday August 7, 2010. The Wild Turkeys here hang out in the areas that are not as highly developed as the neighborhood where I live. This Turkey was in a mostly forested patch of land. The Turkey eats seeds, grasses, and insects. I believe this to be a hen or female because it does not have a pronounced area under its chin of hanging skin, called a “Wattle”. This Turkey is the third one I have seen in the year I have lived in Tennessee, but only the first since last fall. I feel very happy to have seen this Turkey. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger photograph. Enjoy!