Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nature Notes - Deer at Big Meadows

Big Meadows is one of our favorite places and another we have frequented for years.  We would liked to have checked in at the Lodge not too far away but it is closed until Spring.  We stayed at the Lodge for a weekend several years ago, and have talked about going again for some time now.

It is not for just the beautiful scenery we find along Skyline Drive.  At Big Meadow we often enjoy seeing the deer and I have posted about them before.   

Most of the snow had melted but there were still large patches here and there.

On this visit we saw more deer than we have ever seen before.  We counted at least 27 by the end of our walk.

They were aware of our presence, but we were told when we first discovered the meadow that they are well used to people. We watched as parents with two small children and a dog on a leash walked around the first small herd we came across.  A few deer looked up and twitched their ears listening, and I thought that we wouldn't be able to see them much longer, that they would soon be off into the woods.  

I was glad to see that family behaving responsibly.  The children  and little dog did not run or make any noise, the dog was on a leash.  Their parents had taught them well.  I silently thanked them for not going any further and watched as parents, children and four-legged family member turned around and walked in the other direction. 

There was a lot of tasty grass to munch on in peace.

"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything."
~Albert Einstein~

A few heads came up at the slightest sound.

We saw other humans come and go.

This mother took very good care of her youngling. When she ambled away her offspring followed.  We thought the younger might have been born last Spring.  

"The company of deer can fill one's soul with the love of Nature."  This quote is mine, I think.  It popped into my head as I watched and took everything in around me, but then I come across so many quotes as I love reading them, and I might have heard it somewhere and borrowed it.  It fit my mood perfectly, I find being out in nature completely soothing and relaxing, peaceful.  

I could sit myself on the ground and watch for hours.....

and hours.....

and hours.

And then come back the next day and do it all over again.  I am looking forward to the Lodge opening in the spring.

Look at that one ear turned in our direction?

Always on the look-out.

"The mountains are calling and I must go!"
~John Muir~

Another wonderful walk across Big Meadows, made even more so because of all the deer we found there.

You can go here to read about Big Meadows.

Added note: some of you expressed an interest in the grasses on the meadow.  I found this at the Shenandoah National Park site here.

"In Shenandoah National Park grasses can be easily viewed at Big Meadows where red top (Agrostis perennans) and tall oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) are particularly common.  The troublesome invasive Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) can be seen throughout the Elkwallow picnic area where it has overrun virtually all other forest understory herbs.  Grasses possess a subtle beauty and provide a worthy botanical challenge to those interested in determining individual species.  Take a moment next time you pass some of the grass to bend down and take a closer look."

Good advice!  I think I must have been a botanist in another life as I have always enjoyed studying fauna up close.  It is amazing what you can see.  Now if only I can turn my toxic thumb into a green one!  


Thank you for hosting such a lovely meme Michelle.

Please visit other Nature Notes lovers here.


  1. Oh my gosh! This is just so wonderful to see. You really got gorgeous shots of those beautiful animals.

  2. It looks a great place to fill your soul with nature. The colours are very calming too. I like the way they use their ears like little radar dishes the same like our wallabies/kangaroos. Beautiful shots.

  3. Thanks for sharing your walk. It was really nice to lose myself in the pictures on a cold, dark rainy morning.

  4. Beautiful shots of these sensitive deer. They blend in so well with the grasses and the general landscape. I would love to witness them for real. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This is so beautiful. I'm so glad it is no longer hunting season. I feel just like you, I love just sitting around with a group of animals that accept one as also belonging to this Earth.

  6. Those are so beautiful shots Denise! Are those grasses dry, that color is our meadow color during the very long dry season. But the animals eat them too because greens are not available.

  7. How wonderful to spend so much time with these gorgeous animals. I am, of course, exceedingly jealous... smiles.

    Do you remember hearing about a place known as Cannock Chase? According to the roadside warning signs there are supposed to be deer in there but in all my years living nearby I have never seen one.

  8. David andI went to Big Meadows on our Honeymoon.

    My daughter loved camping up there when the girls were younger. These days everyone has something else to do.
    My goodness the place is overrun with deer. We need more wolves I think!!

  9. they're just beauties, but add in that meadow of reddish tipped grass... so pretty!

  10. Oh, they are gorgeous creatures.
    I find that time stands still when I'm in the company of wildlife,I don't feel rushed ,or hassled at all.
    Jane x

  11. They're so beautiful. And you were able to get them in some lovely surroundings.

  12. They're just beautiful and I love whatever the red stuff is they're standing in. It looks like dogwood stalks but I'm assuming they're not! My favourite is the one with the humans all blurry in the background.

  13. I like these peaceful vegetarian animals. Grazing out in the open fields they must always stay alert even though they get comfortable around people sometimes.

  14. You saw quite a few deer this visit. Nice photographs of the deer! I am going to share this post with Willard Hill. He is interested in the deer at Big Meadows.

  15. What a beautiful place. Deer are such gorgeous creatures.

  16. I have never seen a deer in the wild and to see this many in that stunning field of grass would just lift my soul.... they are so beautiful

  17. It looks a great place and you are so lucky to see all those deer. We have a lot around us but they are seldom seen as the hunters are always out :-( Have a good day Diane.

  18. Beautiful and indeed peaceful. I do see deer quite often, but have never seen that many at once. The grass is wonderful

  19. I wish our deer had more snow melt so they could get some food. I love your quote and so many people don't like deer, it made me smile to read your post...Michelle

  20. Kay, thank you and they really are lovely to see so close.

    Diane b, that’s interesting about the wallabies and kangaroos, I wonder how many species can do that. All those with long ears I guess?

    David, I always enjoy sharing our walks. I like to look at photographs of sunny days. It’s been snowing a little here today.

    Linda, they certainly do blend in and I love how their coats get lighter in the warmer months, again blending in with the foliage.

    Arija, it is still hunting season here but deer in the National Parks are generally protected. A lovely way of putting things. So true!

    Kalantikan, they grasses look dry but we have had a lot of snowfall this winter but I agree with you, if you are a hungry animal, you will eat what is there.

    Valerie, you have a lot of things over there that I am jealous of :) Yes I remember Cannock Chase well. My sister went camping there years ago.

    Diane, you are very welcome, I love deer also.

    Schmidleysscribblins, so you stayed at the Lodge? That would be such a nice place for a honeymoon. Glad your daughter got to experience camping and wolves? Oh no but I have to say I think wolves have their place in the world also, they are wonderful in their own way.
    TexWisGirl, yes, everything was in sync that day.

    Jane and Chris, methinks I have a kindred spirit in you Jane.

    Gail Dixon, so many beautiful places in this world, Big Meadows is one of them. I was very lucky with the sunshine, surroundings and so many deer.

    Em Parkinson, your comment made me go on a search to find out what the grasses were. Thanks for asking it. I did know at one time but have long since forgotten. I liked that photo also.

    Penelope Puddisms, I think it’s always wise for them to stay alert, not to get too used to having people around, not quite trusting them. But it really is nice to be able to view them relatively closely. I wasn’t really that close as I have my zoom lens.

    Linda Gross, I’m glad you are sharing it with Willard. I hope he enjoys it. I will have to visit his blog.

    Laura, they certainly are.

    Karen, it is and I totally agree.

    Sandra, I was amazed at the number on this visit. I’m glad you feel the same way.

    Rhodesia, deer always know where they are safe don’t they? Except I wish they would stay off the roads. You have a good day too Diane!

    Sallie (FullTime-Life), in every sense. I can honestly say that this was the first time I have seen so many of them at one time. When we turned back they were even on the other side of the meadow.

    Rambling Woods, it sounds like you still have a lot of snow there Michelle. I hope it melts soon. I have always loved deer, all animals really but I never got to see them until I came to the States. I did grow up in a pretty industrial area, but even when I moved down to Devon I still don’t remember seeing them. I guess I just didn’t have to know-how or the incentive to go searching back then. Oh boy, have I changed!

    Thanks for visiting everyone.

  21. Wow, these are amazing shots of the deer. Fantastic post.

  22. What a gorgeous spot. I too would be happy to spend some time 'easing my soul' there. Thank you.

  23. Hi Denise, I love Big Meadows, one of my favorite Shenandoah spots.. The red grasses are beautiful. Wonderful series of deer photos. Great post, have a happy week ahead!

  24. What an absolutely wonderful series! Like you, I could sit for hours and days to watch these precious creatures.

  25. Aren't they amazing creatures? We're still knee-deep in snow.
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

  26. Gorgeous shots! The fields and background are beautiful!

  27. Just wonderful..the color of the grass is unusual though..but again you mentioned that those are oat grasses..beautiful!!

  28. There was. O lack of subjects on your visit, Denise. This looks like a place we should add on a future road trip.

  29. Deer are beautiful. Thanks for sharing these photos with us, Denise.

  30. Wonderful deer photos! Back in 1989 I took a weekend photo course up there, staying at Big Meadows and out on the field at daybreak. Got some nice deer shots.

    I'm told you can photograph bear at the Rose River Fire Road but I haven't had the nerve to do so.

  31. Hi Denise,

    Such wonderful nature photos and loved seeing the families of deer.
    Thank you for sharing your day out with us.
    happy week

  32. How lovely to walk near these beautiful creatures. they are such peaceful animals.