Outing recaps as of late

January 10, 2009

Ice and snow have caused closure of Skyline Drive for a while now, but here is a small recap of the past few outings.

Shortly before the holidays, I headed out into the mountains and hit up Limberlost Trail again in Shenandoah National Park. I always seem to end up there since I’ve seen bobcat tracks there and am trying so badly to track the bugger down.

At first, the trek was relatively uneventful. Then, I realized I wasn’t alone. Down the path stood a group of deer watching me.

121508deered

As I watched, close to a dozen crossed the path and kept eyeing me. As I kept walking, I noted many more deer that I had been unaware of. I was in the midst of possibly 50 or so.

I’ve always known there is a high concentration of deer in the park and it makes sense – they’ve got all the foraging space they could ever need with minimal predator threat – but I haven’t seen many tight clusters like that. It was kind of surreal.

That day was made even more worthwhile on my way back south on the Drive. Shortly after Big Meadows, I encountered another photographer watching a barred owl and I joined. This owl, compared to the last few I’ve watched, wasn’t just a 30 second event. For nearly 15 minutes, I watched and photographed the owl as he scanned the grasses below him, presumably for a meal.

The late afternoon light and the unnaturally cooperative animal made that outing pretty special.

I also had a productive day in December out at Newman Lake in Harrisonburg.

My next real challenge is waiting for a good snow and then figuring out places to shoot wildlife. Chances are good that Skyline will be inaccessible while any snow presence is at its peak, but I want to round out the collection with more snowy environments.

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