Roe Deer Buck - Willoughby Fields

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    I caught the train to Ifield on a beautifully warm, clear September afternoon, hoping to catch sight of the many Roe deer living at the Willoughby Fields, Crawley. The does were extremely jumpy, because they had young to protect. They all fled at first sight. I look forward to next spring, when the does chase away this years kids. Unattached female roe deer can become very curious and approachable in May and June. For the moment, though, photographing them is out of the question.

    I thought the evening had come to a head, when two insecure male human exhibitionists arrived and began displaying the usual disruptive and irritating behaviour I have to put up with when I am trying to photograph shy wild animals. Instead of silently appreciating the intrinsic beauty of nature, the spanners emitted involuntary loud noises while making chauvinistic remarks about women, just to prove that they weren't gay. Perhaps their extensively modified 1989 Ford Escort 1.3 Popular Plus, featuring a 400 watt stereo, which causes the engine to cut out at traffic lights, had been towed away or something. I consoled myself with the prospect of drinking the chilled bottle of Magners cider I had brought with me – when I spotted a doe and her kid grazing in the next field – a wonderful sight. The kid had grown to half the mother's size during its short life of just a few months. Not wishing to take any chances, the doe ran off, prompting her offspring to follow suit a few seconds later.

    It was a surprise rendezvous with 'William', as he is called by Penny, a local photographer, that left me with a sense of deep fulfillment and trembling hands. William stood in the long grass at sunset, looking straight back at me from a distance of about 20 metres. I dropped my head, to disengage eye contact and sat down, to reassure William that I was not a threat. I took several pictures in quick succession, to help William disassociate the camera shutter noise with any sense of menace on my part. He went to move off a couple of times, only to stop after a few strides and continue looking at me, smelling my scent and eating green shoots. Not wishing to outstay my welcome, I left William to enjoy his nocturnal adventures in peace. I shall work on William, the most tolerant Roe deer I have ever seen. Perhaps one day, he'll be standing a few metres away, feeling completely at ease, as I take pictures of his handsome face and magnificent antlers!

    Niannian Dun, Kiss Prudence, hornbost, and 16 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. MFahlio 32 months ago | reply

      Your picture has caught my attention and I find it worthy

      Natures best

    2. Danny's Nature 32 months ago | reply

      Nice one and I'm glad you got to meet Buck.

    3. Alan MacKenzie 32 months ago | reply

      Buck has a lovely temperament. Meeting him as I was about to go home empty handed was a wonderful surprise. His behaviour reminded me more of a shy domestic cat than a deer.

    4. Danny's Nature 32 months ago | reply

      I know what you mean.

    5. John Dominick 32 months ago | reply

      Wonderful image and enjoyed the narrative, I completely relate to your thrill of such close contact with a wild animal.

    6. Alan MacKenzie 32 months ago | reply

      Why do people have to abuse drugs and alcohol, when there is so much real beauty and joy in the world? That's not to say I don't like a couple of ales, but seeing the deer or watching the starling murmurations at the end of Brighton Pier costs nothing and the memory lasts longer than a hangover and a box of paracetamol.

    7. peterphot 32 months ago | reply

      beautiful photo my favorit!

    8. BoblyP 32 months ago | reply

      This is lovely and probably the very last day of summer we'll have. I love how you describe coming across this deer and how excited and fulfilling it was. No sign of shaking hands here, though!

    9. Alan MacKenzie 32 months ago | reply

      It was a very special moment, which required a good deal of planning, experience, subject knowledge, self-control and fieldcraft to get right.

    10. Tsukiouji Ryuu 32 months ago | reply

      Thank you very much for sharing the story along with the great photo!

    11. JohnCB2 31 months ago | reply

      Absolutely stunning shot, the light and colours are just perfect as is the framing

    12. Karen Blakely 31 months ago | reply

      He's spotted you!

    13. Alan MacKenzie 31 months ago | reply

      Best practice, if you spot a Roe deer familiar with people, is to let the deer know you are there, so the animal can get used to your scent, appearance, behaviour and any sounds you make, especially from the camera. This particular buck wasn't at all bothered by my presence and as a matter of fact, he became quite interested in my scent.

    14. 27 months ago | reply

      Glorious capture, I also really enjoy the moment when I spot these wonderful animals.

    15. Alan MacKenzie 27 months ago | reply

      It really made my evening and I cracked open a bottle of cider at Ifield Station to celebrate!

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