UCF’s Arboretum has become one of my favorite places to go birding, but I found out you don’t need to see birds to have an awesome outdoor adventure.
That’s what happened over Father’s Day weekend when I went out to UCF early Saturday morning. Strong storms were in the forecast and would arrive in a few hours, but it seemed the birds in the area had already hunkered-down. Across the scrub and forest area, I saw hardly any birds.
While the birds were preparing for the storms ahead, I found out that others at the Arboretum were going about their usual routines.
As I was going down a new trail, I heard a rustling in the palmetto. Moments later, a big female White-tailed Deer appeared, and she proceeded to look me over pretty thoroughly.
Once she apparently determined I wasn’t any kind of threat, she disappeared back into the palmetto and moments later returned with a little fawn.
The fawn seemed much more interested in me than the mom had been, and the little one even tried to approach me a couple of times before turning back. We all watched each other for about 10 minutes before I had to leave because of an approaching storm.
But while watching the deer, I also spied an inquisitive Eastern Gray Squirrel – who had paused for a few moments to watch all of us.
While heading back to my car, I also came across a group of Eastern Cottontail Rabbits who scattered after seeing me. I did get a picture of one – and it really showed how well they can blend in with their environment.
Yes, my birding trip didn’t have any birds, but it was still a great day to be outdoors.
The day after I visited the deer, I went back to the UCF Arboretum and did see lots and lots of birds. All seemed to be out and about after the previous stormy day.
As was I leaving, I happened to glance to my left and noticed someone was watching me. It was a male White-tailed Deer, growing back his antlers and peeking out from the palmetto.
I’m not sure if he was related to the mom and baby I saw a day earlier, but I hope he was so that I could say I saw the whole deer family.