What a day

March 31, 2009

I had an excellent time Monday evening in Shenandoah National Park. Epic, maybe.

Thanks in large part to a generous donation (thank you!) I was able to kickoff a return run on the park in the central district. I decided to head toward Big Meadows and, upon arriving, was surprised to see an unexpected sight. It appears that a controlled burn has recently taken place in the field and all of the underbrush was gone.

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Thinking that I may find something unique in this unusual habitat, I wandered the meadow but saw little besides robins.

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Then I hopped back in my car and headed north for a short time before turning around for a slow scan on my way to the exit. Shortly after the Tanner’s Ridge Overlook, I noticed an oddity that I had to document. Although we’re all used to seeing deer in a brown and white color scheme, I’ve never seen one like this:

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When comparing it to the other deer at the same angle on the right, it’s obvious that it has an excess amount of white coloration.

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I was excited and pleased to have documented something a little different in the deer world. Perhaps it’s some genetic variation I’ve just never seen before.

I would have been content ending the day on that note, but never expected what came next. At around 7 p.m., just north of Booten’s Gap, something began to dart across the road. In under a second I had the following thoughts: “Is that a rabbit? No… Is it a groundhog? Too big… Hey, that tail kind of looks like…. IT’S A BOBCAT!”

I lept out of my car and tried to resolve myself to the fact that it may already be gone. But to my amazement, as I peeked over the stone wall on the roadside, the bobcat was crouched in the bottom of the embankment. I raised my camera and began firing away. Unnerved, the creature slinked toward a pile of brush and showed off his characteristic tail in doing so. Proof positive that I was looking at what I’ve sought for so long.

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For nearly half an hour we sat and watched one another as it peeked out every so often. I’ve placed my favorite shot in the layout already, so it won’t go online. But here are a few teaser shots:

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033009bc3ed1It did this for a while… not sure if it thought I’d go away if it pretended it was asleep or what.

An amazing end to the day and definitely worth the trip.

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7 Responses to “What a day”

  1. Evan Dyson Says:

    Was sent this link this morning. The deer likely was a ‘piebald’ deer: http://www.buckmanager.com/2007/07/17/piebald-deer-what-are-they/

  2. susan Says:

    looks like it was an awesome day in the park. good work.

  3. bloggingawayadhd Says:

    Wow awesome! And so glad you finally got your bobcat!! I can’t believe you were able to photograph it for 1/2 hour!

    Maybe that ‘albino’ deer in Harrisonburg is a piebald also? We’ll have to find out if it has any brown on it and if it has red eyes!

  4. Evan Dyson Says:

    I’ve never seen the Hburg one, but if you do, take a photo!


  5. […] Bootens Gap I pulled into the small parking lot and began to walk the wall near where I had previously seen the bobcat. Terrain has changed slightly with the emerging leaves, but overall it was about the […]

  6. Christine Says:

    Cool shot of the piebald deer. I think there are several roaming the central district of SNP.


  7. […] wasn’t until March that I found my first bobcat, rather by mistake. Despite actively seeking one for months, I found this one only when it ran in […]


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