It was a fairly normal Thursday morning for the Tommell family, but as Michelle Tommell walked past a window overlooking the backyard something caught her eye.
At first she thought it was the neighbor's dog. Upon closer inspection, she quickly realized it was nothing of the sort.
"I saw something moving around in the yard and when I went to another window to see what it was I saw a bear," Tommell said Thursday evening.
The week prior, the mother of three had heard that her neighbors had seen a bear in their yard so she knew there was a possibility that one could appear closer to her house.
"I shouted for my kids at first and we watched for a minute and then I thought I have to go find my camera," she said. It was around 8:15 a.m. and her children, two 9-year-olds and a 6-year-old, were in the house at the time.
"I snuck out on the deck and he looked at me and didn’t care one little bit. He just kept doing what he was doing and was in the yard for 10 minutes," she said.
It wasn't until a neighbor turned on a weed-whacker that the bear wandered back into the woods behind the Tommell's house.
"The noise didn’t startle him. He just walked off back into the woods. He was very calm. And that was it," Tommell said.
The encounter didn't startle the family either, although Tommell said it has made them a little nervous and more cautious. Since the first neighborhood sighting earlier in the week, the residents of Hidden Valley Drive have made a concerted effort to not leave garbage out overnight or do anything to inadvertently attract the bear's attention.
The Tommells have also reviewed the safety tips posted on the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and talked to their children about what to do if they see a bear while outside playing. The Tommells also do a quick sweep of the yard, including the tree line to make sure it is safe before their children go out to play.
"We have lots of wildlife in our yard because we are up against a wooded area," she said.
After taking the photos, Tommell called a local Meriden police officer and registered a note on the state DEEP's website to let the department know that she had seen a tagged bear.
The DEEP has received several such notifications of late. In nearby Berlin and Cheshire, several residents have reported seeing bears in various neighborhoods. To see some more photos and a video of the bears please read .