Oh deer…

Knowing that yesterday was to be the last sunny day for a while, we managed to fit two walks in. In the afternoon we went to Petworth, a national trust property whose 700 acre deer park (landscaped by Capability Brown and painted by Turner) host the largest herd of fallow deer in England. The herd is currently around 900 strong and has been there for 500 years; Henry VIII is said to have hunted here. It’s a stunning, open landscape with ancient trees and great fungi in the autumn. I don’t normally get great photos of the deer as I don’t have the telephoto kit and the deer move off as soon as you get anywhere near them. I’m quite pleased with these though, particularly the bucks.

relaxing in the shade of a tree, buck nibbling some leaves.

young bucks (known as pricketts!) with their nascent antlers

By moving slowly and keeping a tree between it and me, I managed to sneak a bit closer to a magnificent white buck.

white buck

After a few photos he ambled off, passing close to another buck lying concealed in the long grass.

you ain’t seen me… right?

Startled by a dog, the white buck suddenly doubled back and ran almost headlong into the buck lying down. The other one must have taken this as a challenge or attack, as he leapt up and charged the white buck. The sound of their clashing antlers was pretty amazing.

clashing antlers

It didn’t last long – about 30 seconds – and afterwards they both seemed a bit sheepish.

now hug and make up boys!

The white buck walked off trying to look unhurried and terribly casual ๐Ÿ˜‰ and the other buck followed, but not too quickly (wouldn’t want to actually catch him up and have another fight, after all). It’s the start of the rut now so hormones and tempers are running high, but the rut is pretty ritualistic – there’s lots of noise, sizing each other up, parallel walking to gauge how tough you both are, that sort of thing. This was more of a ‘one bloke stumbles into another bloke in a pub and spills his pint’ kind of thing. The darker buck seems to have put the white buck in his place and is content to leave it at that.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

and relax…


20 thoughts on “Oh deer…

    • Thank you! Fallow aren’t native to Britain but are naturalised, having been here since the 11th century when they were introduced by the Normans (or possibly even since Roman times). I think they’re native to France though so you might get some nibbling your trees!

      • We get roe deer around us that are very beautiful. I think the fallow deer would need more open space than we have in this mainly agricultural area. I think I’d have to go to some of the National Park areas before I’d see the fallow deer.

  1. Hi, Lucy,

    I haven’t look in very often since the Skyfall days, but this morning I wondered how your photos were coming along. Needless to say, I was richly rewarded. The photos of the deer are just great!

  2. Yes, I am looking forward to Skyfall. I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Royal premiere at the Albert Hall. As you may have guessed, I’m a Yank so it means a journey, but it’ll be worth it.

    • Wow now that’s dedication to make such a long journey! Are you combining it with a longer trip?

      I’ve just posted the photo of the tunnel entrance. I think I emailed it to you at the time but I’m not sure so have a look.

      • My wife and I were just in England in June, but we always enjoy our trips. Yes, I’ve got the tunnel photo. Thanks!

  3. Just scouting through the archives – and came across this… I have sometimes wondered if there were still white / albino deer at Petworth, as there were many years ago. Now I have the answer. VG pics of the white buck.

  4. Pingback: Deer stalking the dog! | The Foraging Photographer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: