The Deer stalker – when the deer is the stalker

I have just started a new painting in the studio of blueish flowers but it isn’t very far along , so I thought  I’d share one of the funnier things the wildlife have done out here.  Last Monday, I happened to glance out on the lake and saw a great blue heron perched on a stump out in the shallow end. 

Just minding his own business

He was just relaxing, grooming himself and bending his head and neck down over his body, looking for all the world as if he wanted to take an evening nap, safe out in the middle of the water.  I went and got my camera and took a few shots of him.  I put the camera down because it was slowly getting darker and I wasn’t sure how these would turn out. 

She's so innocent

I happened to glance back a few minutes later and saw a doe walking on the shoreline and  I thought, what a chance to get a picture of the two together.  I took a few more pictures hoping that one might prove passable enough to post and then, once again put down the camera.  Shortly thereafter, I noticed the doe in the water, slowly making her way around the heron.  Then things started to get interesting – for everyone.  The doe began ducking her head under the water and then tossing it about, dancing around and making her way closer and closer to the heron.  He just kept eyeing her placidly, as if he couldn’t quite figure out what was going on.  She made a slow circle around him, getting closer as she went, until finally she got right up to him and then seemed to almost poke him.  In as dignified a fashion as he could manage, he hopped off the stump and headed towards the shore.  She followed and proceeded to chase him back and forth along the shore.  Eventually he made his way back into the water near the stump. 

The deer stalker

She continued to follow and walked behind him all over the shallows too.  This all seemed to be done in slow motion as if she were playing with the heron like she might with her fawn.  No one got too excited and it was just this quiet dance between the two of them.  Finally she tired of teasing him and walked off into the woods.  He resumed his perch on the stump as if nothing had happened.  Sometime later in the deepening dusk, he departed, too.  I felt privileged to see this lovely wildlife vignette and to be able to share it with you.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 07:05:25

    That’s just too weird. I never thought a deer would stalk anything. What a cool thing to have witnessed.


  2. ruthsartwork
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 10:01:49

    The really odd thing is how long it all took. I bet the whole episode was over 20 minutes. That’s why the quality of the pictures got worse. I fiddled with the camera setting, but the telephoto lens has less tolerance for darkness and I was just hoping to get something usable. I’m really surprised that the heron didn’t just fly off after a few minutes.


  3. Sher
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 16:33:49

    What a great thing to watch. I wonder if the heron knew that the doe was a baby? Heron (and any of the long beaked birds such as cranes & egrets) will go for your eyes with their beaks when they feel threatened.

    I love watching wildlife in action!


  4. ruthsartwork
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 18:17:19

    It was all very slow. The heron just kept moving away from the doe and she just kept following. No one got very excited (except me in the house). I don’t think the heron was very frightened. I never saw him lash out at her. I think he just wanted to sit on that stump.


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