Wild Apples and Deer

The wild apple trees are loaded this year! It’s a bumper crop of fruit that will feed wildlife, especially deer, for several months and help sustain them through the winter. Some varieties start dropping apples in late summer and others retain their persistent fruit well into autumn, even into the winter months. White-tails love apples and are tuned into this cycle. They’re already foraging heavily on the early drops.

This post features a young buck that I first observed in October, 2014 when he was a 4-month-old button buck. We had many close encounters over the next 7-8 months, but he was invisible for most of the summer. Fallen apples lured him back into view, within camera range in good light! Facial markings and notches in his left ear are identifying features. I hope to see him again in a month or so, when his small antlers are polished, in order to complete his story.

Most of our wild apples are too  large to swallow whole and must be chewed with the molars in the back of the mouth. This may be the only thing that a deer does not do gracefully, and the process of getting an apple from the ground to the stomach can be quite entertaining!

The tedious manipulation of large quantities of apples warrants an occasional break to relax and groom ….

before heading off to find another apple tree!

Photos by NB Hunter. 11August2015. All Rights Reserved. ©

Shrubs in Bloom

In late June and early July, the flowers of native and exotic shrubs dominate open areas, including forest edges, roadsides and abandoned fields that are in the early stages of woody plant colonization.

Two species in bloom now are Red-panicle or Gray-stemmed Dogwood (Cornus racemosa; peak bloom) and Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora; past peak bloom).

Gray-stemmed Dogwood is a native, thicket-forming shrub with attractive white flower clusters in early summer and white fruit on branched, red stalks in autumn. A large variety of insects are working the flowers now, and birds will devour the fruit when ripe.

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Red-panicle or Gray-stemmed Dogwood in bloom

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Red-panicle or Gray-stemmed Dogwood in bloom

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Ctenuchid Moth on Gray-stemmed Dogwood blossoms

Multiflora Rose is an exotic species of shrub that also has the ability to grow as a vine if adjacent woody plants provide support. Once planted for erosion control, living fences and wildlife habitat, it is now considered to be invasive. Attractive, fragrant flowers develop into clusters of small, red fruits that persists well into the winter.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.