A visit to Studley Royal Park in North Yorkshire today with Mike and Dave. The aim of today's visit was to hopefully get photographs of the Red deer rutting. Didn't quite work out as planned because the rut hadn't really begun.
Mike picked me up at 07:00 and we were soon on our way to pick Dave up and make the two hour journey to Studley Royal. It was a fine morning with the promise of good sunny spells for the area we were visiting. That didn't work out as planned either. The sun showed it's face a few times but only for brief periods. It was however white cloud sooner than grey cloud so the conditions weren't too bad for photography.
We arrived at Studley just after 09:00, once we managed to find the entrance to the park itself. The deer park was not sign posted at all. The Canon 500mm and tripod was my chosen kit for today plus the 1.4 extender if needed. This would hopefully allow me to get photographs without approaching the deer too closely. It doesn't pay to get too close to rutting stags as they can charge you if they think you are a threat to the hinds that they have gathered and claimed as their property, and at my age or any age come to that, my chances of out running a testosterone fuelled Red deer stag are pretty slim to say the least Lol.
As we drove down the road through the park to the car park at the bottom end of the park, we had seen several groups of deer so we knew it shouldn't be a problem finding some to photograph. We soon located one of these groups consisting of a dominant stag with a large number of hinds around him. There were other immature stags in the group but they were very much on the edge of the group keeping out the way of the dominant male. It soon became apparent that the rut had not really started as there were no other stags challenging the dominate male, and the hinds were showing little if any interest in the dominant male. It was obvious that the hinds he had gathered around him were his property but I guess the hinds had yet to come into season before the rut would really liven up.
Dominant Red deer stag eyeing me up
Although a little disappointed that the rut hadn't started there were still plenty of photographic opportunities. There were Red, Fallow and Sika deer in the park so with a bit of luck photographs of all three species were definitely on the cards. We put in a lot of leg work to get the photographs of the Red deer before concentrating our efforts more on the Fallow and Sika deer.
Red deer hind
After a good lot of walking we located a mixed group of Fallow and Sika deer. These were much more skittish than the Red deer and we had to put the 1.4 extenders on the lenses to give us more reach for these. It was the first time I have seen Sika deer and I was impressed by how handsome the male Sika is.
Sika deer stag
We spent a lot of time observing and photographing this mixed herd. Time had absolutely flown by so we made our way back towards the car park taking a few more photographs of the Red deer as we did so. A welcome cup of tea and light refreshment in the tea room at the park was most welcome before we set of on the homeward journey. A great day out in great company with some excellent photographs. Many thanks to Mike for being our driver today. Don't forget you can view all the photographs from this outing on the main web site pages. http://lincsbirder.zenfolio.com/p850119925 I finish this post with a photograph of female Fallow deer.
Female Fallow deer