alert, oh, so alert now that the young buck has seen me

Mattamuskeet deer detail

Mirrored against the still waters of the marsh stalked a subtly yet startling marked tricolored heron.
I had seen a few of these medium sized herons on other trips to Mattamuskeet Refuge
but they had all taken flight before I could take their measure with my camera.
This juvenile bird seemed oblivious to his surroundings and was very heron-like, fixed on the hunt.

tricolored heron

A sure sign that seasons are changing at Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge.
This buck has a beautiful antler rack still covered in velvet.
The covering will soon begin to itch and peel –
driving the buck to trash the surrounding shrubs and saplings, rubbing the annoyance away.

white tail deer

Usually it is my feet that has startled the mourning dove.
It will burst out of the grasses, wings whirring distinctly –
flying far faster than I can adjust my camera, as they go from very near to me to very far within a wing beat.
This dove was startled not by me but my friend and I caught the bird as he flared for his landing.

mourning dove

The wood stork had flown out of sight.
My friend and I had begun to photograph an assortment of egrets.
The sky darkened and we both looked up.
There above us was the immature wood stork
magnificent with translucent chevrons in his wings.

Wood Stork