Living in the city of Fresno, California, we never had wildlife enter our yard other than the occasional squirrel that would sit in a tree and taunt our dog with its chatter. We had lots of Morning Doves eating grass seed, and the ever obnoxious Blue Jays that would come in and run off all the other birds, but we never had the wildlife like we have here in Florence. Our home is only about 9 years old in a small gated community nestled into what once was a heavily wooded area, so we still have woods all around us. Like so many housing areas, we have taken up space that once belonged to our animal friends.
Just this week we had a knock on the back patio door and Angel (our dog) answered with a loud bark, so we had to she who she wanted to invite in.
As soon as I answered, this guy was was trying to tell me something.….
He motioned to his left and then here pops in more company
All of a sudden it’s like they said, “Hey this is one of those humans and he has a camera! Everybody pose”
The more I pressed my shutter on my camera, the more that appeared.
Before you knew it there’s a family of raccoons sitting or hanging on my fence all trying to see this human.
I wonder if the 4 bears that were in our yard a couple of weeks earlier told them about our home.
It was a Wednesday night and I had just got off work at 11:00pm. Our trash day is Thursday mornings so I had gathered up everything and placed the cans at the end of our driveway. I did my usual wind-down before crawling into bed about 12:30. About 1:00am I heard my trash can hit the pavement and thought that I must have a raccoon in my trash. I knew I didn’t want to be cleaning up after they left a mess everywhere, so got up to run them off. I opened up the garage door to see a huge black bear staring back at me. As we both stood still checking each other out, I was at the same time, having to make a tough choice. Go get my camera, or go get Tami out of bed. Ya see, in all her life she has never seen a wild bear other than what you find at the zoo. Camera or Tami, Camera or Tami kept playing in my head. I hit the button to the garage door, walked past my camera, and woke up Tami. I told her to hurry, get your shoes and glasses on and don’t let Angel out of the house. I didn’t tell her what it was all about, but she knew it was important for me to wake her from a dead sleep. This time I knew I better get something to make a loud noise just in case big mama was to get mad at me shinning a powerful spot light in her eyes. When I opened the garage door again, it was more than I expected, as I had big mama and three cubs staring right at us, neither of us wanting to move. Now I have this perfect scene and actually a great composition with four bears no more than 15 feet away from us. It was actually a bit unnerving knowing we could not out run them if mama wanted to charge. We left a door to the house open, bit it still would have been close, and a pissed off bear could go right through it. Anyway, the bears stood their ground, and we stood ours, as we checked each other out for about 5 minutes. I finally turned to Tami and said we better go back in and close the garage door. I knew then it was my turn, and it was my time to get photos. I got my camera, attached my 200mm zoom lens and made all the adjustments inside the house. ISO, shutter, flash.….etc. I opened the garage door again to get my prize photos of wildlife bears.…. They were not to be seen or found anywhere. I didn’t want to walk unprotected in the neighborhood, as I know I would lose if attacked, so I jumped in my Blazer, but it was for nothing. I lost out on perfect photos, but Tami finally got to see bears. For over 25 years, every time we camped, she always said.…..“I want to see a bear!” Her wish has been granted.
I doubt I ever have that opportunity again to have a family of bears all together in one frame of the camera (that I didn’t have), at our home, but it was exciting to watch them for a short while, and although we have encroached into the home of our wildlife friends, it’s nice to know they will stop by for a short visit. I’ve heard there is a cougar in the area. I wonder if I have to send a special invitation for him to visit.
I hope and pray that we as a people who share this planet, will continue to work on protecting our wildlife.
Till next time.…. Thanks for reading
OMG… what a great story! Your photos of those adorable raccoons are awesome! I hope you have your camera ready for next time the bears show up.…. I’ll be waiting 🙂
That is awesome. I have to say that I too have never seen a wild bear, but I have seen deer, elk, moose, antelope, mountain beaver (yes there are such a thing called this, I have them on my property), beaver, rackcoon, and that’s about it.
The fact that you were able to get the rackcoons to stay for the photo opp is awesome.