After a spring and summer with very little time to pursue my outdoor photography, my wife and I finally found time for a short vacation. I had hopes of finding some interesting photo ops and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge did not disappoint.
While waiting for the sun to make its appearance a small sika stag crossed the shallow water of the wetlands. The little deer didn't seem to bother the geese as it passed by. This was my very first time photographing a sika deer.
A short time later a larger stag appeared in the wetlands opposite to where the first appeared. This deer sported much larger antlers and a much larger body as well.
The stag paused a couple of times as it crossed the meadow.
I'm guessing that the sika rut is on as the stags seemed to be traveling with a purpose, much like rutting whitetail buck, a species which I am much more familiar with.
Sunrise over the Wetlands
And on the way out of the refuge another stag crossed the road and paused on the bike path. While I had photographed the previous deer using the 600mm lens, this one I shot hand-held out of the car window using the Canon 100-400 lens. After a number of trips to Assateague without so much as one photograph of a sika deer, to see four stags and photograph three, all in one morning made for a surprising outing!
A few days staying on Chincoteague Island, photographing wildlife, and walking the Assateague beach were most relaxing. I will be sharing more photos from this adventure in the coming days.