White-tails in the Morning

The day started out beautiful! The sun shone off the recently thawed surface of Houghton Lake with the promise of a warm, sunny day, and hope that the weatherman was wrong about expected snow showers in the afternoon.

On the lookout for hooded mergansers, I spotted a red-tailed hawk warming herself in the morning sun at the top of a tree that looked so dead a slight breeze would blow it down. Rolling down the window to take a shot, the gooseflesh rose up on my arms from the chill in the air just as the 'ice possible' warning flashed on the dash. Getting a couple of shots, I moved on.

Driving along the flats this morning produced little duck action since the rafts of waterfowl still had their faces tucked into their feathers for warmth, so I decided to head back to Reedsburg flooding in hopes my luck would change.

Meandering along the winding road, I spied a half dozen deer crossing a farm field and took some shots to get the camera warmed up. I knew without a doubt that the results weren't anything to get excited about so I continued on my way hoping the mergansers would be at Reedsburg and available for their photo-op.

Heading directly to my favorite hotspots, I was able to snatch a few shots of bufflehead and ring-necked ducks (above) in the early morning light. The sun glowed in golden ripples on the water's surface creating the most beautiful scene for a photo, but once again, the action wasn't anything special. As most of the ducks huddled in tight groups to stay warm, I decided to head back toward home after a good half hour of shivering and wishing I had brought some gloves.

Clicking the seat heater on, I put my truck in gear, dodged the potholes back out of the park, and hit the road towards home. Since no other traffic seemed to be out quite so early, I putzed along checking the forest on both sides of my route thinking that something should surely be stirring by now! Even another picture of a muskrat would be nice.

Coming around the first bend, FINALLY... Something to get excited about presented itself. The small herd of white-tailed deer had made its way through the field and across the road... right in front of me!

The cover from the trees was so thick when they ducked under the branches that the auto-focus on my lens completely freaked out and didn't know where to focus! Clicking the camera into manual mode, I wished I had my glasses on because trying to get a good bead on brown fur and big ears through tree branches seemed almost impossible.

The one good thing about white-tailed deer is they will often freeze in place hoping you won't see them if they don't move a muscle. This offers a few moments time to take photos so long as your camera settings are correct and the autofocus works. Unfortunately, the camera was set for sun and I wouldn't know if I had good focus until I got home!

I was thrilled to have at least a few pictures to share.

Thanks so much for stopping!

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