Friday, August 14, 2015

Mid-Summer Wildlife

It seems that most of my recent posts have been about Pennsylvania Elk and the new construction in elk country, but I actually spend most of my time afield observing and photographing whitetail deer so today's post will be mostly about deer and some of the other local wildlife.

Mature Doe
 It is relatively easy for me to get good still photographs of does, fawns, and small bucks as I am around an extended family group of deer almost every day and they have come to tolerate my presence quite well. It is always a special treat to get a close-up look at a fawn or to see a doe and fawn nursing.

Fawn In Late June

Currently no mature bucks are using this area as summer range so I must travel to other areas to look for rack bucks. The ones I see are extremely skittish so it is hard to get close enough for good still photos.  As a result, I concentrate on taking video with the Panasonic GH4 and long lenses. With this rig it is possible to take acceptable video at very long range and it is common to get usable footage at ranges such as 300--400 yards--although it is still better to be close if possible.  At times I also carry a still camera if I am not walking too far and fire a few frames even if the range is long. 

8-Point Buck At Long Range
The photo above was taken with the Canon 5D MK III and the new 100-400mm lens.  I didn't have my range finder along that day, but the buck was somewhere between 150-200 yards away.  This was taken hand-held from sitting position and then cropped at  a 4x5 aspect ratio in Adobe Camera Raw to 2MP., which yields a file capable of printing a 4x5 print at 300 d.p.i.  Of course this is not enough resolution for a large print, but it does make a usable photo for internet purposes.

It adds a lot of interest to an outing to encounter other species of wildlife as well. I frequently see a lot of interesting things that are impossible to get the camera in action to photograph, but sometimes things do work out.  I got the photo below as I was fording a back country stream with the Bronco and noticed a flock of Mergansers perched on rocks in the stream. Fortunately they did not become alarmed and I photographed them with the 7D MK II and the 100-400mm.

Mergansers Resting
While I do not see Eastern Wild Turkey as often in the summer as at other times of year, sometimes a good encounter does occur.

Mature Gobbler Looks For Danger
I have seen several flocks of hens and young turkeys--or perhaps I have seen one or two flocks several times--but I have not been able to get either good video or stills of them.  This usually changes once the farmers have harvested the grain and hay fields which makes the birds much more visible when they are feeding in them.  I did get a photo of a hen with a lone poult one summer evening.

Eastern Wild Turkey Hen With Young
I suspect that she had a larger flock, but the others stayed a bit further away and were hidden in the taller grass.

Soon my attention will be shifting to recording the bull elk and whitetail bucks losing their velvet and the onset of the pre-rut and rut.  Bull elk are shedding their velvet now and the elk  rut will get underway in early September and peak toward the end of the month, while the whitetails will not lose their velvet until late August through mid-September and the whitetail rut will not peak until about mid-November.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth Hiebert said...

Great photos.The fawns are always precious.

Linda G. said...

As always, I enjoy looking at your wildlife photographs.

Tom Ham said...

Fantastic as always!