Flowering plants aren't the only creatures visible along the roadsides in the Carolina summertime.
This wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, was foraging in a pasture alongside a rural road in eastern Chatham County this week. Thanks to a highly successful reintroduction campaign by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, wild turkeys are now common again throughout much of the Old North State.
This female is accompanied by a young poult, perfectly camouflaged among the tawny grasses of the meadow.
Why, you might ask, did the turkeys cross the road?
To prove they weren't chicken, according to the old Thanksgiving joke; but in this case, we're pretty sure it was to reach the safety of the woods and pasture farthest from our car.
Safely obscured by the tall grass again, hen and poult resume their foraging for insects and seeds. Just a few decades ago, the idea of seeing breeding wild turkeys in this part of the state ever again might have seemed absurd, but for the observant traveler, a wild turkey sighting is a very real possibility now in almost any rural area of the state.