It’s been a while since my last post – work has occupied much of my time unfortunately and I’ve rarely been out in the last four months, but hopefully I will be back out and about.
My last few trips out have been visits to one of my favourite locations, especially now spring and the nicer weather has arrived. It’s nice to see the various greenery, wild flowers and hearing, what at this time of year, is a deafening sound of song birds but the woods don’t feel really alive without the larger mammals there, especially deer and in the case of the woods in this part of the country, Roe Deer. I believe they are the most common species of deer in this country and yet most people who have a stroll in their local woods will probably never see one, though they are there and their signs are everywhere.
For such a relatively large animal, they do a remarkable job of remaining hidden. Even at this time of the year when the trees are missing their foliage and there is little to hide them in the way of ferns or long grass, they are still hard to see. For me there are two ways to see them. Find a time and location where they are and either sit still quietly (hidden) and wait, or walk quietly through the woods being very observant. For my photography, I prefer the sit and wait approach though it can mean hours of waiting with no guarantee of success. The following seven images were taken via this method. Waiting at a location I new they used and where the lighting was good enough to take good photographs. Although the use of netting helped hide me and using quite mode on my camera, the deer still suspected something was up although they walked by, the shutter sound still made them stop and stare in my direction.
Just after taking these last three images, I heard some rustling behind me, but because of my position, couldn’t turn around easily so kept still. It is a little unnerving hearing that behind you whilst clearly getting closer. Suddenly there was loud barking. Clearly a male Roe Deer had come up behind me and must have been very close before being alerted by my presence. It continued to bark whilst moving away and by the time I did turn around I couldn’t see him because of some undergrowth although he was still thrashing around, moving away for a while then coming closer again while all the time barking loudly. After around twenty minutes he eventually left.
The remaining encounters were from those of walking around. On two occasions I literally stumbled across them – one that was resting in the undergrowth the other I just didn’t see until the last moment. Other times I saw them in the distance and then hoped they would walk to a location that was open so I could get a good image, but they weren’t being very cooperative and were walking the wrong way, always too far away or there was a branch or something distracting in the way.
Above is the typical kind of scene I was coming across. It looks empty and bare and yet the deer were there, you just had to look carefully. Often I would look and in the distance see one or more deer in the distance looking right at me, watching me. Below is a patch of woodland with no obvious signs of there being any deer, yet there are two of them watching. The main scene was taking from my phone held on top of my long lens whist the two inserts are taken of at least two deer that I could see. If you look carefully, one of them (right insert) can be seen but not the other which is much more hidden.