A female White-tailed deer crosses water on the Elbow River via a beaver dam. Calgary, Alberta, Canada, July 29, 2021. © J. Ashley Nixon
Crouched down on the river bank, I had been watching out for beavers for a couple of hours. My camera was primed with a rather heavy telephoto lens perched on a monopod. Scanning upstream; scanning down. No beavers on show on this visit to the Elbow River, but a couple of muskrats were swimming and diving in the still water. The evening sun was settling down, an orange ball in the western sky hazily modified with smoke from numerous forest fires across the Rockies.
As I turned away from the muskrats and looked down towards the dam, I had a brilliant and, for me, first-time wildlife sighting. A White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was cautiously traversing the creek over the bridge formed by branches and chewed logs. Then her two fawns followed, still bearing the spotted pattern on their reddish-brown coats that signifies their youthfulness.
An excellent reminder that life often presents you with more exciting things to photograph than you had planned for if you keep looking.
On the Elbow
I am currently working on a book of photographs about the heritage, nature and landscape of the Elbow River and valley in Alberta. Please have a look at my Elbow photo gallery for an early impression.