“Milking” Summer

Seems like yesterday that I was photographing nests, babies and nurturing parents. Now, a stroll through rural landscapes provides ample evidence of the changing seasons and cycle of life. I always feel a sense of urgency at this time of year: finish projects, prepare for winter and, above all else, capture the moment!

Bird populations and foraging activities are are at or near peak levels. Songbirds like cedar waxwings, catbirds and song sparrows are swarming open habitats in search of nutritious bugs and berries.

A close look at milkweed colonies in neglected fields and along fence rows and forest edges reveals brilliantly colored monarch caterpillars, eating voraciously in advance of metamorphosis and a red-eye flight to the mountains of Mexico.

Farm fields are full of surprises. In one, a small herd of historic American Aberdeen Angus cattle graze peacefully, as though choreographed. In another, a good whitetail buck is feeding non-stop, packing on as much weight as possible before the November rut and the long winter that follows. The fact that he’s changing into his grayish, insulated, winter coat didn’t go unnoticed.

It’s a bumper year for wild apples and deer are taking full advantage of the crop. They aren’t overly selective either, munching on fallen apples (“drops”), regardless of the ripeness or variety.

Photos by NB Hunter (August, 2019). © All rights reserved.

15 thoughts on ““Milking” Summer

    • Thanks Miranda. The changes in deer behavior and appearance are dramatic at this time of year. The camera has pulled many of the details out of the shadows and I seem to learn something every time I edit a new crop of images!

  1. Where did the summer disappear to? The bigleaf maples are showing a hint of yellow. It’s been a very dry summer here. Some trees are looking a bit stressed.

  2. The deer in your area are further along in winter preparation than ours are! What beautiful thick coats they are already sporting and the fawns look so healthy! Is that a large colony of goldenrod plant in the background of that last image? That’s a spectacular shot, Nick. Of course you know I love deer… and squirrels. Ha ha!

    • Yes, things are moving along, much too quickly! These are “farm” deer and they eat well, roaming from one cultivated field to another. The last shot was taken at the edge of a section of the farm set aside as a wetland preserve. The head-high goldenrod was just starting to bloom and gave me the backdrop I wanted. I had to jump off a 4-wheeler and shoot off-hand in poor light so the shot is a little soft – but I’m satisfied to have salvaged something special to share. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      • Most of my photography is just that – whatever conditions you have at the moment and no time to get all of the settings how you’d like. It’s ok that way though… it’s real time… real life. We don’t often get the perfect shot or conditions, do we?

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