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Message #4034 of 4034  *NEW*
Robert Jones  
St Andrew's State Park (A Short Hike-A Longer TR)
7/22/09, 2:55am (Last Edited: 7/22/09, 2:57am)
Late Monday afternoon I had taken those dragonfly photos earlier at a park in town and still yearned to get out some more. I took advantage of the cooler temps and low humidity levels that we have been experiencing here in Northwest Florida of late. I decided St Andrew’s State Park would make an excellent venue for a late afternoon excursion. I was rewarded for my ambition when a beautiful doe gave me an excellent photo op shortly after entering the park.

I moved on to a trailhead in the park and went for a short hike. The trail I chose is not lengthy and I new going in I was only hiking to a marsh a few hundred yards down the trail. I stalked along slowly. The trail was empty of people on this date and I was glad. As I eased along….I was hoping to see a snake either along the trail or in the marsh…I noticed a deer moving along the trail up ahead. I was hoping that by being a little stealthy that I might ease up near enough for a photo.

There was a short rise in the trail almost a dune and I could see deer tracks on the ground as I moved along. This is where the deer had been. Beautiful birds, herons, egrets etc were flying over the marsh as I eased along. The camera whirred as I clicked off about ten shots at a Great Egret flying over. The Great Egret was bathed in perfect late afternoon light. My confidence of having gotten a good photo was low but the opportunity was great. Later review of the images taken revealed blurred, poorly composed images…I knew I had blown the opportunity. The light afternoon breeze was blowing from behind me and coupled with the clicks of the camera I knew that if the deer had somehow not know of my presence before it would know I was there now. From the slight elevation advantage of the dune I scanned the marsh for signs of the deer and it was not to be seen.

I moved along the trail some more. I was watching at my feet and along the marsh edges for a snake. I kept scanning hoping to see the deer. Somehow, I decided to look up. The sight of the Great Blue Heron perched high in a group of pines took my breath away. My camera whirred to life again. I would snap a few shots and take two steps further down the trail….closing distance a little more. I was afraid of spooking the Great Blue Heron.

Suddenly, I looked around and there in the marsh grass was the deer I was hoping to see.

I was torn between subjects but the heron had me captivated. I photographed and watched until it finally decided to move on.

By then the light had faded in the marsh and the deer had grazed on and moved away. I eased back up the trail and back to the parking area excited about the photos I had taken.

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