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Posts Tagged ‘Odocoileus virginianus’

Great Egrets (Ardea alba) always seem to me to be a little vain and self-centered—maybe if comes from being so beautiful and graceful. This one did not like being ignored, so it decided to photobomb my shot of a deer this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park .

Great Egret

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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A White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) seemed curious about the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) perched on a log, but the heron remained impassive and did not react as the deer passed behind it early Saturday morning at Huntley Meadows Park.

Peaceful co-existence—we could all use some more of that in our daily lives.

peaceful co-existence

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I don’t see deer very often at my local marshland park. When I do, it is generally only a flash of their white tails as they bound out of sight. On Friday, however, I spotted a young White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) foraging in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park on the other side of a small stream from where I was located.

I stopped and crouched and the deer slowly moved closer and closer to me. I think that the deer was aware of my presence, but did not seem to view me as a threat. I did not want to move around too much for fear of spooking the deer, so I used the lens that was on my camera at that moment and stayed in place. A 180mm macro lens would not have been my first choice for photographing a deer, but it worked out surprisingly well.

As the deer moved forward, I thought it might try to hop over the stream right where I was at, but eventually the deer moved upstream a bit and made its way to the side of the stream on which I was standing. It lingered for a while in a field before it finally disappeared from sight.

Here are a few shots from my encounter with the young deer. My favorite one might be the first one—I had no idea that deer were so flexible. The third image, which I only cropped a little gives you an idea of how close the deer was to me.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Last Saturday, the final day of the 5+ month deer hunting season at Huntley Meadows Park, I was startled to see the unmistakable shape of deer antlers on the ground a short distance away from where I was standing. As I moved closer, I saw that it was only some kind of decoy used by the hunters.

deer decoy

Looking up, I realized I was at the base of an unoccupied tree stand. I felt a little safer knowing that there were no archers in the stand at that moment.

tree stand

I understand the problems caused in our area by an overpopulation of White-tailed Deer and the reason for the extended hunting season. Still, I am somewhat amused by the lengths to which the county goes to avoid using words like “hunting” or “killing.” Instead, they refer to the “archery program” and “deer management.” Deer management? I have visions of a deer CEO.

deer3_20Feb_blog

On Monday the 22nd, I returned to the park and was surprised to see that least some of the tree stands were still present. I am sure that someone will eventually come to retrieve the stands, but I am going remain alert, just in case one of the stands happens to be occupied despite the stated end of the deer hunting season.

deer stand

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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We visit our local parks and wildlife refuges for a short while and return home, forgetting sometimes that many of the creatures we observed live and die within the confines of these small (or not so small) areas. As I wander through Huntley Meadows Park, I see signs of this entire circle of life. Lives have ended and, as we move into spring, new lives are beginning.

Whenever I come across skeletal remains, a clump of feathers, or other evidence of the death of a bird or an animal, I cannot help but wonder how the creature met its demise. Was it a predator, old age, sickness, or starvation? Life can be harsh in the wild, especially in the winter.

As far as I can tell, the animal in the first photo is a raccoon (Procyon lotor). Several months ago a fellow photographer mentioned that he had seen the dead body of a raccoon inside a hollow in the trunk of a fallen tree. I thought that predators would have dismembered the body by now, but instead it seems to be slowly decomposing in its sheltered position.

The skull is the second photo is that of a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Other body parts of the deer were scattered about in the same area where I spotted the skull. There are concerns that the deer population is too high for the park to support, so there is a chance this deer died from starvation.

I know that these photos, especially the first one, are pretty graphic and apologize in advance to those who may have found them to be excessively disturbing.

raccoon

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In the quiet of the early morning I often will stand at the water’s edge, watching and waiting to see if any animals will emerge from the woods to get a drink of water. Sometimes my patience is rewarded.

On this occasion, two White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) appeared. One of them kept its back to me most of the time and I was unable to get a clear shot of it. The other deer was a bit more cooperative and I manage to get some shots of it as it drank and then walked about a little bit before fading back into the woods.

Deer always seem so gentle and beautiful—a perfect match for the soft early morning light.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I never quite know what I will stumble upon when I wander about in remote areas of the woods, fields, and marshes of Huntley Meadows Park. This past weekend I spotted this skull, which I guess is that of a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), a common species where I live. How did this deer meet its demise? Was it old age, disease, starvation, or a predator?

Somehow this simple image of a skull seems appropriate for Halloween Week. Happy Halloween in advance.

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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