Coastal Cervidae

When I visited Point Reyes in late September I was hoping for a chance to check out the Tomales Point Elk Reserve. Unfortunately I ran short on time; after a quick trip to the Historic Point Reyes Lifeboat Station, I was returning north along the peninsula along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. It’s a narrow, two-lane road without much of a shoulder on either side. So when I happened to glance to my left and spotted a small group of tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) standing in a field overlooking the ocean, it took me awhile to find a safe place to pull over and stop the car. I never did manage to get very close, and these pictures were shot with my Sigma 150-600mm lens extended nearly to its limit.

It was a very different situation when we recently spent a week at The Sea Ranch in Sonoma County! All I had to do was step outside the house around mid morning to see a handful of black-tail deer (Odocoileus hemionus) strolling along the road before eventually disappearing into the trees. These deer were shy and wary but also curious, allowing me to get some very nice shots.

Young male with “buttons” where antlers will soon grow

Roadside snack

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