Deer … and Snow

Winter weather, particularly snow, is the guiding force behind my recreational activities from November to March. We had 8 – 9 inches of snow this past week, 6 inches from the fringe of a winter coastal storm followed by fluffy, lake-effect snow formed over Lake Ontario.


The cold, calm weather that accompanied the snow provided ideal walking and stalking conditions. Soft snow underfoot and snow-covered vegetation muffles sounds and conceals movements.

I decided to seize the opportunity and spend some time stalking and observing a small family group of White-tails, deer that are somewhat tolerant of people and apt to feed during the day. Dried, persistent leaves on small trees and shrubs and the occasional apple were the foods of choice.


A massive, mature doe; matriarch



Button-buck fawn (about 5 months old)



Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.


Late Afternoon Sky…@#$#%!

I’d been out stalking deer in the snow and was now resting and thawing out. Pale pinkish clouds and a nice half moon caught my attention: should I retrieve my camera from the other room? I didn’t, and at that very moment a large flock of snow geese, high in the sky and glistening like Christmas lights in the setting sun, straddled the moon with their V formation.

You could call this photo a “frustration” shot!


Moon in late evening sun 11/28/14

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Deer Habitat

The hunting season for deer is well underway and the survivors know the value of dense cover, especially during daylight hours.

This doe was feeding and resting in an old field habitat dominated by goldenrods (until they collapse under heavy snow) and thicket-forming shrubs. She was eating dried, persistent leaves (including blackberry leaves) and the small red berries of Multiflora Rose.


Young White-tailed Deer feeding and bedding in dense cover (goldenrods, Multiflora Rose, Buckthorn, dogwoods, Viburnums, White Ash seedlings, other) 20Nov2014


Multiflora Rose fruit in winter; this is an invasive species

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

It’s Freezing!

We’ve escaped the blizzards and heavy snowfalls pummeling areas to the west and north, but it has been unusually cold for this time of year: 10 degrees F this morning, excluding a nasty wind chill.

A short hike along the edge of a small, hemlock-cedar swamp revealed the formation of thin ice, some greenery above and below it, and crystalline highlights.


Snow crystals and a mossy stick, on ice 11/19/14


Fern, alive and well after days of sub-freezing temps 11/19/14

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.




Corn Fields in Winter

Many of our corn fields have been harvested but, hopefully, not too efficiently. The waste grain between the stubble will feed thousands over the approaching winter: deer, turkeys, cottontails, doves, geese, crows and songbirds to name a few!


Harvested cornfield 11/14/14

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Crazy Weather

I left the house for an afternoon walk knowing that it was highly unlikely that I would intercept rutting deer sprinting around in their winter coats. It was 60 degrees – a 30 degree temperature swing since my snow post 3 days earlier!

I jokingly said that a butterfly sighting was more likely than a deer sighting.

This is my first sighting ever of a butterfly in mid November.


Red Admiral Butterfly 11/11/14

Wildlife, mostly deer, rabbits and squirrels, have been eating wild apples for almost two months now. Trees with persistent fruit are few and far between.


A persistent Wild Apple 11/11/14

When freezing temperatures arrive, frogs in shallow pools like this one will hibernate under water, in the organic muck at the bottom. Survival of these cold blooded amphibians in the dead of winter hinges on a slowed metabolism, stored fat and the diffusion of oxygen through moist skin. However, unusually warm, sunny weather can alter that behavior, bringing them up for a breath of fresh air.


Frog surfacing in a shallow pool 11/11/14

English Oak is best know as an ornamental, landscape tree. It performs well in this area and produces large, nutritious acorns that are devoured by deer, squirrels, turkeys and other wildlife species. This tree has been cultivated in a natural, wild setting in order to augment acorn production from native Red Oaks.


English Oak 11/11/14

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.



Autumn Snow!

We had our first real snowfall of the year yesterday, a couple of inches of wet, heavy stuff. This post is dedicated to all of my friends who have either moved or migrated to warmer places … and are longing to see November snow! The pleasure was all mine!


The last of the aspen leaves




Snow reflections in a tiny stream


Wild Japanese Barberry, escaped from cultivation


Mature White-tail, doe

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.