Sunday, 1 May 2016

No Show Roe

I thought I'd try another visit to the woods this weekend, to hopefully see and photograph some Roe Deer. So far this year I haven't had much success though, to be honest I haven't managed to get out as much as in previous years.

Last week's brief photograph of a Roe was 2016's first and normally, spring is the best time to see and take pictures of them, but the woods have seemed and felt different recently. Maybe it's my imagination or maybe it's because of the lateness of Springs arrival, it's been cold like winter and the woodland have a look and feel of winter, but by mid morning the light was what you would expect more in late spring/summer - hard and contrasting.

I tried a different way around this time, one that would go 'against' the Roe Deer's morning route from their night times feeding so hopefully increasing my chances of seeing them. A number of sightings, mostly from a distance the closest being one where I stumbled across it last second - I couldn't believe I didn't see it! Too late as it bounded off, stopping briefly to look back at me then disappeared into the woods. I was using my binoculars for much of the time as without the dense undergrowth of later on in the year, I can see quite a distance.

On one occasion, scanning the from one side to the other I caught site of a male Roe, relatively close, looking right at me. Due to their poor sight which is more sensitive to shapes and movement, all I could do was freeze. He was completely motionless - not a twitch - and so had to do the same. After a few minutes I was feeling the strain of my holding the binoculars to my eyes with one hand, it was the longest standoff I've had with a Roe, but he eventually carried on. It's not as if I had a chance of getting a good photo of him, so could have let him be spooked and run off but I suppose it's as much as about causing as little disturbance as possible as much as getting the picture. That's as much as part of the challenge. Of course, walking through a wood which has wildlife you're going to cause some disturbance, but then so would any would be predator including more natural ones such as a Fox.

Eventually I got the 'drop' on a Roe I spotted in the distance. It wasn't coming towards me but across left to right. She was feeding and hadn't spotted me but was very alert. I had time to set up my lens and cover much of myself with some scrim netting. I was able to get the following images as she made her way across. There were a couple of open areas but she wasn't really co-operative enough to really pose in these spots and in one of the only two where she did, managed to pull a funny face at me! Much like when photographing people it was taken just at the wrong moment.

I had my shutter option to quite mode which was working too well as the normal shutter mode would be enough to stop a deer due to the sound. It did stop at my last photo opportunity just before disappearing, maybe it had finally heard me or I just got lucky. Looking at the images it looks like it was really intent on where I was but actually it was looking in all directions and had spent much of its time with her head down feeding. I only took the opportunity looking at me to take the photos.

I've left all the images un-cropped to give a better idea of what I was seeing through the camera.

Roe Deer, Woodland Wildlife

Roe Deer, Woodland Wildlife

Roe Deer, Woodland Wildlife

Roe Deer, Woodland Wildlife, feeding

Roe Deer, Woodland Wildlife


The slow signs of spring growth


Current woodland view showing, despite the lack of undergrowth, the difficulty in spotting a Roe Deer


I know I have a tendency to go on about the weather, but this year has been particularly bad. Lots of rain and this week snow! The image left is an example and a sight from my work window. Quite depressing considering it was the end of April and you're expecting some warmth the arrival of summer.

The good news is that finally warm weather is forecasted for the coming week and so hopefully the weekends.


  1. Hello Frank,
    at such a great encounter would be to sift through the entire selection of images to at home;-)
    a series of images that you love more often look at
    greetings Frank

  2. Great photography Frank! Reminds me of a time when I was almost knocked-off my feet when a Roe sprang out of the undergrowth right beside me. Incredibly well camouflaged. Looking forward to the next instalment. Here's to brighter weather.

  3. That not surprising, especially in the summer when there's thick undergrowth. It hasn't happened to me yet but I've surprised them (and them me) when they've been just metres away. As you say, they're incredibly well camouflaged.