Black Bear Sighting

While on vacation to Nags Head, North Carolina, we did an inland day trip to allow our sun burns to mellow.  We made an appointment for a select guided tour of the 152,000-acre, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, in East Lake, North Carolina.

The Refuge is know for its black bear and red wolf populations.  Our hope was that we might see black bear, up close and personal.  Michelle, Mike, Tina, Jeb and I piled into a tram early in the morning and drove through a series of gravel roads within the Refuge.

Swamp Titi, pronounced tie-tie, a hardwood shrub, was in peak bloom along the stream and ditch edges.  This plant is quite the pollinator, attracting many butterflies.

Yellow-bellied sliders were a common sight.

A female wood duck (center) with two fledglings that were not proficient flyers yet.

Southern leopard frog.

We saw three bear on the morning, with this particular bear ambling through a freshly plowed agriculture field.

The bear was indifferent regarding our presence, and was more interested in what food stuffs might be in the soil.

The bear did acknowledge our presence by looking our way.  We were quiet and respectful, and far enough away, to I assume, not be threatening.

She/he continued to forage . . .

. . . but all the while moving away from us.

What a treat for all of us.  It is estimated that approximately 300 black bear reside on Refuge, making for one of the largest concentrations bear in North Carolina.

White Arrow Arum (Peltandra sagittifolia).

I am very familiar with green arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), which grows throughout the northeast. Today, however while visiting the Refuge, I observed several aggregates of white arrow arum at peak flower, within pocosin ditches.

This perennial native (OBL), occurs from eastern North Carolina, south to Florida and west to Louisiana.  In North Carolina the plant is considered significantly rare-peripheral (SR-P), as eastern North Carolina is the absolute northernmost extent of its range. The plant is not found in Virginia or Maryland.

This beautiful wetland native is also commonly known as spoon flower.

We finished our tour by having a Bob-White Quail sing for us!  Awesome.