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!  

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Thank you for hosting such a lovely meme Michelle.

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