The Rut

14th October 2008
It's been a while since I've updated my recent work section and to be honest I've had a nightmare of a summer with the camera. I've not been able to get any projects going for one reason or another plus, subjects to photograph when I have managed to get out, have been far and few between.

October on the other hand is the Red Deer mating season and with a couple of parks close by I decided to pay a little visit.
The first park I went to was Woburn Abbey, which is on my doorstep. Woburn has a good herd of Deer so getting images isn't a problem but the surroundings aren't very good for that natural feel to the image, it looks like a park!
There are some areas which look natural but it's hit or miss if the deer are there and more often than not they aren't.
Still, you never Know your luck unless you try so I popped over at first light only to find all the deer in the open grass areas which aren't very good for the natural feel type of image.
I waited for a while in a favourite spot of mine hoping a few stags would come through and perform but it was very quiet and by now the sun was getting bright so I started to head back.

I came across a couple of Stags hanging around by a big oak tree waiting for their chance for a crack at the females.

This one had been forced into the lake by a rival male but he still gave out a roar to tell the females he was still about.

I could hear this Stag from miles away, sure to be a winner with the ladies in the coming weeks.

Woburn didn't do it for me but there's still time to get them in the right area.

The next park I paid a visit to was Bradgate Park in Leicestershire. Bradgate has a much better look and feel to it with lots of big ferns, stone walls, old ruin's and rolling hills.
In fact it could pass for the Scottish Highlands, downside to the park is there's not that many Stags and loads of people visit it. The sheer number of people on a week day blew me away, this amount of people has an effect on the deer which pushes them into an out of bounds area to the public.

You do get ten minutes which are pretty quiet either side of sunrise and sunset though... :-(

This is the first Bradgate Stag I came across sniffing and tasting the females scent.

I then spotted a Stag moving around in the ferns, so I headed over to him hoping to get a few shots before he ended up in the open. These shots turned out to be my favourites from the day although I would have liked better light.

The Stag wasn't the only thing poking out of the ferns during the day, there was a few more photographers visiting the park too.

I also bumped into Danny Green. Danny is a professional wildlife photographer who I've exchanged emails with about Barn Owl sites and I've viewed and commented on his work on a wildlife photography site we both use from time to time.
I must admit Danny's work is stunning and I can see why he's a professional with clients as big as the RSPB on his books.
He also does wildlife photography tours and one to ones which is what Danny was doing at Bradgate, check out Danny's website for more information and view some outstanding images.

I had a spot of lunch with Danny and his client before heading back into the park for another crack at the Stags.
It was pretty quiet on the Stag front and the park was very busy so I had a little go at some flight photography.
Lots of people feeding the ducks had the gulls circuling around trying to nab a bit of bread.

A few hours passed before I spotted a Stag moving down from the out of bounds area, light was getting low by now but he put on a show so it would have been rude not to take his picture.

He'd been following a group of Hinds about but a couple of them had young so he was wasting his time there.

The last picture of the day was a record shot of this Little Owl, record shot means it's crap! but it was nice to see one as I'd been hearing them call all day.

Thanks for looking.