Sunday, June 7, 2015

Widlfie Sightings Abound As June Arrives

Whitetail Buck In Velvet
Here in southcentral Pennsylvania late May and early June is an interesting time to be afield as the fawns are  born and the bucks grow velvet covered antlers.

Velvet Covered Antlers Grow Rapidly
 With that being said, it is not the easiest to see either at this time.  Most of the larger bucks are traveling in bachelor groups and are seldom seen, but it makes for great photography when they do appear.

Fawns are often seen soon after birth, but then they are seldom seen for a few weeks as the doe hides them in the woods or tall grass and leaves them while she  feeds elsewhere.  Sometimes fawns will come into the meadows after them, but this is not commonplace until they are a few weeks old and it is sometime in July or August before the fawns are almost always with the does.  I have seen fawns as early as mid-May, but it was the 24th this year before I saw the first one.  I was driving a back road and saw a doe and fawn cross the road.  I got off a few quick frames with the still camera and then set the video camera up and got much better material with it.

First Fawn
I got the first good still photos of a doe nursing a fawn this year on the evening of May 29th when a fawn stood up from the edge of a meadow where it was hiding in the grass and began feeding.

Doe and Fawn Nursing
The mating season of the Eastern Wild Turkey is really winding down by the end of May and one seldom sees them strutting by mid-June.  Now it is more common to see them feeding or moving through the countryside.

Mature Eastern Wild Turkey Gobbler
 I seldom see rattlesnakes in this area, but I have probably seen more in late May and early June than at any other time. This year I photographed one that was hanging out at an old back country barn over a period of two days.  In the first instance he was lying on a pile of posts outside the barn while in the second he was lying on the barn floor and peering out of a hole in the siding of the barn. The 5D MK III with 100-400mm IS II was used for the first two photos, while the 7D MK II and 600mm F4 was used for the last one.

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Coiled For Action

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake Peers From Barn

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake

While opportunities such as the rattlesnake encounter are always welcome, most of my spring and summer photography is of whitetail deer, wild turkeys and Pennsylvania elk.and I look forward to filming and photographing them as summer nears.

Pregnant Whitetail Doe
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.