I normally only publish photos of wildlife that occurs in Cesar Chavez Park, but photographer Phil Rowntree’s images of a deer family practically next door in the Berkeley Meadow (Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park) call for an exception. No deer, to my knowledge, have previously been spotted in this park. Phil could hardly believe his eyes. The deer eyed him warily, stood still while he took a couple of images, and then faded into the background and disappeared.
The photo below shows the whole family. The deer on the left looks like it’s growing a first set of antlers. The one in the middle is a doe. It’s not possible to tell what species they are, but the most common deer here are Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), so that’s my guess.
It certainly makes sense for deer to inhabit the Berkeley Meadow park. There’s plenty of vegetation, ample shelter, probably standing fresh water, and reasonable protection from predators such as loose dogs. It’s really a wonder that deer haven’t been seen here before. Part of the answer must be that it isn’t easy to get here. As many Berkeley residents know, deer are pretty well established in the hills and have been seen more than once in parts of the flatland. But to get to the Berkeley Meadow, they had to cross not only the railroad tracks but also the I-80 freeway.
Phil looked for the deer in the days following, but didn’t see them again. They could very well still be there but hiding in the extensive shrubs and trees. If you see them, please post a comment here. Thank you.