The Rut 2.. Whoopers and Owls.

03rd November 2008
I had a go at getting some more images of the Red Deer Rut with another visit to Bradgate Park. The weather forecast gave clear skies with a ground frost,perfect I thought, should have know they'd get it wrong! I arrived before first light only for the clouds and rain to arrive with me, oh well I was here now, better try and make the most of it. I headed into the park looking for the Stags and it wasn't long before I came across one making his way towards the females.

The light was poor but I grabbed a few shots of him before he headed off into the out of bounds area.

The Deer weren't really up to much and it was an hour or so before another Stag appeared in the open, this time there was a few rays of sunshine starting to poke through the clouds.

I had a wander around the park before finding another Stag calling.

I stayed with this Stag for most of the day as he moved around the park but the weather was very changeable, bright sunshine one minute,cloud and rain the next. It didn't bother him but I was less than impressed with it.

I managed to grab a few shots of him decorating his antlers with grass and ferns.

By the afternoon the sun had came out and was only interupted by brief showers, the Stag I'd been following moved out into an open area and laid down for a rest.
I moved up close to him to get a few head shots as he was still giving out roars to let the females know he was still about.

What a difference a nice bit of light makes to the image... This is my favourite shot from the day.

I was pleased with these shots and decided to head home when I heard a Helicopter coming, I looked over and saw an Apache Gunship flying towards me. I pointed the camera up towards it half expecting the gun to point back at me.

What an awesome piece of machinery which will hopefully keep my son safe who is now in the Army.

With Bradgate being so quiet the next moring I had a look at my local park.
Conditions looked good for some backlit images with lots of breathe and steam coming of the Stags,problem was the Stags just wouldn't stand or stray into the right areas which was really frustating as conditions were perfect.

No legs in this shot and he wouldn't come that little bit further up... aaaaaaaarrrggghh.....

The only one to walk out into full view..

I had another trip over to Woburn a week later but the Rut was nearly finished by then with only the odd Stag still calling.

I had a look over at the far side of the park which has lots of ferns and came across this Sika Stag.

He wasn't too impressed with having his picture taken and headed of into the undergrowth but not before he stuck his tongue out at me... ;-)

I was also hoping to get over to Norfolk but the weather always turns nasty at weekends which kills me, perfect during the working week and then crap at the weekends, what's that all about!.....

Anyway, I grabbed a few hours worth of light at Welney hoping for some decent images of the Whooper Swans in flight and for a little look around to see if the Stonechats and Barn Owls were about.

The sky wasn't really good for flight shots,clear most of the time with the odd thin cloud, you need nice contrasting skys with big clouds to make the Swan flight shots look any good. I still took a few shots though as the Stonechats are not there in any numbers yet and it was too early for the Barn Owls to be out.

I hung around hoping to see some Barn Owls but the light was fading fast and with no sign of the Owls I headed back home. I went back home through areas I have seen Owls before in the past and just as I was giving up hope I spotted one perched on a support cable for a telegraph pole.

I drove past and spun the car around, positioned the camera on the beanbag and drove back towards the owl cutting the engine just before I reached it so as not to spook it.
That's when I messed it all up! Firstly I'd pulled up on my side of the road, what an idiot! Then when I went to take a picture the shutter speed was as slow as a snail, I hadn't changed the settings form earlier when I was taking flight shots in good light.... aaaaaaaarrrrgghhh! Will I ever learn from my mistakes? What should have been a good shot became a record shot and we all know what that means, it's crap!

Barn Owls seem to do that to me for some reason..

Hopefully I won't make these sort of mistakes again.. yeah right!

Thanks for looking