I dunno, sometimes I just think, “man, wouldn’t it be cool to get a close look at some kind of tiny budding pine-thing?” Doesn’t that ever cross YOUR mind?
If you live in the U.S., you’re probably familiar with white-tailed deer. Most of them are, y’know, brown.
Every now and then you’ll find an albino deer, which is all white with pink eyes.
And sometimes, you’ll find a deer that doesn’t quite fit into either category. These spotty brown-and-white deer are PIEBALDS.
Like albinism, piebald is a rare genetic thing: less than 1% of the deer population is piebald. It’s frequently associated with other weird physical stuff, like a bowed (“Roman”) nose, short or deformed legs, a curved spine, short lower mandible (overbite), and internal organ deformities.
This piebald buck— either a young button buck or a buck who’d recently shed his antlers, but I’m not familiar enough with deer to make an educated assertion— seemed pretty physically normal to my inexpert eyes… except that he was out at the wrong time of day, and totally unafraid of people.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (2012). “Deer: Frequently asked questions.” http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/faq.asp#piebald-deer.
Something I’ve noticed since I’ve started living here— this whole area has way more hardcore racing bicyclists than I’ve seen anywhere else. Throughout the weekend, they’re a common sight, and you just get used to sharing the road with them.
Unlike the bikes in New York City, which will run you down on the sidewalk and blast through red lights as though they’re green, these racing bikes are pretty good about following traffic laws. They keep to the right on the road, they use hand signals, they stop and yield everywhere they should.
When some of the roads around here were repainted last year, they included a nice wide shoulder, which acts beautifully as an unofficial bike lane.
These photos were all taken in the Great Swamp, which provides some scenic routes that are really popular with bicyclists, but the routes are unfortunately quite narrow. Navigating the road requires a lot of leapfrogging with all the bikes on your side of the street, all the bikes on the other side, and all the oncoming cars.
It’s not a problem— just requires some patience.
(Which I unfortunately have in short supply.)