I needed a little downtime on Friday evening, so headed out to my favorite local park. I followed some trails for a while and stopped at a boardwalk that crosses a marsh. The marsh has jewelweed, Joe-pyeweed and other plants and in the few moments I stood there, this hummingbird buzzed in. I had one shot at it before it flew off.
I crossed the rest of the boardwalk and headed off the trail where woods end at a big, open marsh. These transition areas–from wood to wetland–are usually good places to see wildlife. To hide myself, I hunkered down amongst a mess of tree branches that had fallen on top of each other a few years back. I sat in this blind for about a half hour, watching a downy woodpecker and several chickadees and jotting down some prose. When I heard some sandhill cranes flying across the marsh, I wandered 15 feet to the edge of the marsh to try to get some shots, to no avail. I stood there, staring out at the marsh for perhaps five minutes when a doe approached from the right of the blind. She stopped ten feet away, flicking her tail and sniffing me with her nose. She was actually too close for my zoom lens and interacting with her was special, so instead of taking a photo, I said hello and told her I’d be hanging around for a little while and hoped she didn’t mind. She loitered nearby for a full minute, nibbling on some grass as if she had no fear of me. I was distracted by a blue jay, turned back toward the march to see what it was hollering about and saw an owl rise out of the marsh and disappear again. When I turned back toward the blind I saw this.
I only saw the doe’s ears at first, and could barely make out her eyes. Using a tree to steady my shot, I zoomed in for a better view.
The sun was set at this point and I knew Mark would begin to worry about me. I waited a few more minutes to see if perhaps the doe was hooking up with a pal or had some other reason to leave the blind. She stared at me from the blind, I stared at her, and nothing happened for another ten minutes or so. So, not knowing what else to do, I took two steps forward and took another shot.
I told her I was sorry but needed my notebook, and slowly stepped toward the blind. She stood; I took one more shot.
The doe walked off to the right before stopping about 15 feet away to watch me pick up my notebook. I told her to have a good night, circled around to the left of the blind and tromped on through the woods towards the trail. When I was about 30 feet away, I stopped and turned back, and saw the doe heading back to the blind.
So this week’s lesson: you know you have a good deer blind when you see a deer using it.
I hope you had a good night, little doe.