The “resident” deer on my property include a mature doe and her two fawns. I bump into them about once a week, usually when working in the woods or walking my dog. They’re unpredictable, especially when I’m on foot: sometimes they scoot off into a thicket, sometimes they hold their position and wait for me to pass. On this occasion, I was on an off-road vehicle, hauling a utility trailer loaded with crushed stone for trail improvement and erosion control. The fawn was browsing trail-side, oblivious to the noisy putter and approaching vehicle. I happened to have the camera around my neck and, when I shut the machine off, the fawn’s curiosity gave me a nice photo op. This young white-tail is about seven weeks old.
A very young Cottontail rabbit – about the size of my coffee cup – has been living and foraging near my firewood pile and thicket at the far edge of the yard. After bumping into one another for a couple of weeks, I finally decided it was time for a formal introduction and portraits. The observations and photos gave me a good lesson in the feeding behavior of a youngster that hasn’t been out of the nest all that long. It was a weed-eating machine!
Early summer walks invariably lead me to summer pink: pinkish wildflowers in full bloom. Many are alien and occur in abundance along roadsides and waste places, but some are native, with specialized site requirements.
Herb-Robert; a native Geranium; moist, rocky woodland sites
Everlasting Pea; alien; roadsides
Swamp Milkweed; locally common around wetland habitats
Musk Mallow; common weed
Queen-of-the-Prairie on the edge of a cattail marsh; a rare occurrence in the Northeast; native to the central and east-central part of the U.S.; wetlands; threatened or endangered status in 6 states where native.
The universal challenges of distance and light can be especially difficult when photographing wetland wildlife on foot. Moving to a better position to close the gap or improve the lighting is usually not an option. When I find myself in this predicament, which is often, I usually try to make the most of it. I hope for something good, but expect nothing.
Such was the case with this Green Heron, discovered while walking along the edge of a swampy pond in order to set up for a muskrat photo.
When searching for subjects to photograph in the summer months, the colorful wildflowers (weeds?!) in cultivated fields and edge habitats are rarely a priority. However, sometimes a scene materializes that simply cannot be ignored. These opportunities often arise when I’m en route, walking or driving to and from a favorite wetland.
Mosaic of field crops and weeds adjacent to the Chenango Canal: corn, wild Black Mustard in full bloom, vegetable crops and grain