MENTOR, Ohio — Four deer were captured on camera going for a dip in Lake Erie on Wednesday, treating one outdoor enthusiast in Mentor to a truly special sight.
The stunning images of the deer swimming almost farther than they can see and coming back to land to trot along the beachfront were captured by Mike Kozar, a Northeast Ohio wildlife and landscape photographer.
Kozar, who was visiting Headlands Beach State Park and Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, called the experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"I’m happy I was able to get some decent shots of those deer swimming way out there," he wrote in a Facebook post sharing the images. "It’s probably something I’ll never get the chance to see again."
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Kozar was in the area to take advantage of "recent Birding action," and he never expected to see the deer on his way out of the park.
"It was a great morning for Warblers. Highlights were a Prothonotary Warbler, Mourning Warbler and a Nashville Warbler," Kozar wrote.
"Before leaving, I decided to walk out to the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse. While walking along the beach I came across a couple sets of deer tracks that went into the water.
"I just happened to look out in the lake and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 4 deer swimming out into Lake Erie! They swam so far out you could barely see them."
Stunning photos of four deer swimming in Lake Erie and trotting along the beachfront at Headlands Beach State Park and Headlands Dunes State Nature
Once Kozar realized that he was so close to such a rare sight, he found a spot to sit and take it in, before documenting the moment.
"I sat down for a while and watched them just swimming around out there. It was wild. I’d never seen anything like that before," Kozar wrote.
"Then finally after about 15 minutes they turned around and started back for shore. I just sat there on the log taking pictures of them."
From Kozar's words, the entire experience left quite a lasting impression on the seasoned wildlife photographer.