Early-morning dog walks have turned into deer-sighting expeditions for Barbara Vaughan, longtime resident of the 5400 block of West Avenue in Ocean City's southern end.
“The other morning, there were four of them, about 6 to 7 (a.m.),” Vaughan recounted. “Three adults and a little spotted one. They zoomed right past me and raced up Simpson (Avenue). They are just as beautiful as could be.”
Of course, Dolly, Vaughan's border collie-setter mix, wanted to chase the deer. Vaughan had to command her to “sit” to keep her from taking off after them, dragging Vaughan behind.
Scott Ping, an Ocean City councilman and Vaughan's neighbor on Haven Avenue, said his daughter spotted several deer on their lawn Monday night when she was letting their dog out. It's not the first time they have encountered wildlife you might not expect in a shore town.
“Coyotes have been in the alley at night and a beautiful red fox came through the yard about 10 days ago,” Ping wrote in a Facebook message. “We have always had wildlife spotted at times, but this year, we have an abundance.”
“We have not received any specific reports and have had many deer and other animal sightings in both south-end and north-end neighborhoods over the years,” said Capt. Steven K. Ang, Ocean City Police Department spokesman.
Vaughan believes the deer live in the wetlands between the old railroad tracks around 50th Street and south to Corson's Inlet. Winter likely has forced them to forage farther and wider for food and water. Her mother, who lives nearby, saw deer eating parsley in her yard recently.
Vaughan worries that the deer could be harmed because they don't seem to be afraid of humans or dogs.
“They came within 20 feet of us,” she said. “You worry about (traffic on) West Avenue.”
Residents of the fully developed barrier island have reported other relatively uncommon local sightings this year, including and various .