Friday 2 October 2009

Back to the Forest

Not brilliant we freely admit, but better than anything else we've taken so far. These pics of the wild Fallow deer in Challock Forest, near Ashford in Kent. This in Dad's ongoing quest to take a "decent photo of the Challock Deer in their own forest". It's rutting season again, all be it not long started and the deer are still not fully focussed on it (which means they spot humans lurking behind trees really early; when they're really into the rut their attentions are... um.... else where!)

You can see from these what we mean when we've said in the past that the Challock deer are "black phase". Fallow deer have phase colours like alsatian dogs and rabbits, varying from almost white (they aren't albino - just very pale but with properly pigmented eyes and skin), through the text book "bambi" fawn with white spots, through to these dark ones called "black" believed to have been originally a Dutch population used to stock the forest when it was the King's hunting patch.
First up is an old buck who would have big palmated (webs of bone between the prongs of his antlers) antlers had he not broken one. He's at a bit of a distance. Closer is the best shot, of the young buck with single prong antlers. He'd be called a "pricket", and is probably only 2-3 years old and just getting interested in the rut (but doomed to get nowhere against the big boys for 6-7 more years yet, poor aul' thing). Finally a group making off. Notice the big "master-buck" to the right, with a good spread of fully palmated antlers. He'd be 8-10 years old. Next to him the only doe (no antlers) in the photo, although out of shot, this group had half a dozen more does.
Notice we're using the expression "bucks and does", which is the correct term for fallow deer. In UK, we only use stags and hinds for Red deer, Roe deer and (strangely) the smaller sikas, muntjacs etc.
Not bad huh? More pics as and when Dad can bet back out there early in the morning. He nips out at 7-ish when it's still fairly dark, and gets into position ready to try for a few pics as the light comes up.
We aren't allowed to go. There's this theory that dogs chasing about do not mix well with calm deer photography. I can't think why!

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

I must say Deefer, despite what your dad may think, these are very good pics of wild deer, it can be hard enough at the best of times just to see them let alone get a good picture of them looking at you