This morning's deer is a young male, with antlers. Jack and I come up the steps to the street, and we look up the road. Our local deer are California mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus californicus. They browse near water, what there is of it, in our terrible drought. That must be why their trails come through this place, where a storm drain feeds from the hill and down into the ravine.
|I wish this picture had turned out more focused.|
He's right there, crossing from the woods to the hillside, at the bend in the road. He's there like a statue against the darkness of the forest behind him. He stops, still, watching us. Are we a threat? He quietly assesses us. I can see his head turn, vigilant, and his huge ears swivel, listening.
I take out my phone and take a quick photo of the deer. Jack's distracted, he's sniffing the aromas of other animals, among the fallen oak leaves. Behind me, I hear a car. It's a neighbor from down the street, a grey-colored Mini with two surfboards on the rack.
I put my hand out as a warning, and make eye contact with the driver, then take another picture. He can see there must be something around the bend, so he slows the car.
As the car gets within twelve feet of the deer, the animal suddenly shies and bolts back into the woods.
Jack and I walk on, up the rise and beyond. He sniffs the grass. He does his business. When he's done, we turn back toward the house.
The deer is down in the woods below; he hasn't made it across the street yet. From here I can take some more photos.
This fall, I encounter deer at least twice a week, whether on my morning walk, or at night when they cross through my car's beams on the road home.