A Snowy Start to 2016

So after a lot of Christmas festivities, far too much food and drink, and an even greater unwanted excess of exam revision, I stepped out my door to some long awaited snow. With my camera, coat and gloves, I was thoroughly excited to be out shooting again.
With rather sad looking one foot high snow men in the odd drive as I walked to Wollaton, I was not all that hopeful for much snow in the park either, but luckily I was all to doubtful over what may be in store. The layer of white blanketed the golf course, and families were out making boulders up to their waists. The deer seemed equally as content, with mothers, young bucks, and the young deer born only this year in a large group of around 50 individuals. Many had nuzzled holes in the cold white felt to get the sweet and well-kept grass that lay hidden underneath. Other young bucks still had ladies on their mind, and as much as the Does made it quite clear that they hadn’t the mildest bit of interest, the bucks kept hopelessly chasing them like an overly confident drunk in the club.

The Deer on the golf course seemed as inquisitive and curious as ever as to what on earth I was doing crouching in the snow, looking in their vague direction
The youngster enduring a needed wash from mum

To the left of me was a slightly more innocent scene with a youngster from this year being dotingly attended to by his Mother. The Doe would lick first at his neck, before he demonstrated quite clearly that he did not want to be groomed at all. Much more interested in the strange eye-like object I was pointing in his direction, the youngster tore his head away from her undying attention. The mother accepted that the little beggar simply did not want his neck cleaning at this point in time, and so patiently ignored his lack of cooperation, moving on to the youngster’s belly instead. It was not long before the mother had to give up all attempts at cleaning her offspring entirely, as he trotted off to join the rest of the group.

Mother patiently attempting to keep her son well groomed
One of the more dominant males, enjoying a nice
lunch in peace

After I had sufficiently distracted the young deer from having his daily wash, I ventured to the other side of the hall to find all the big boys with a fodder beet feast fit for a king. The Gamekeepers of Wollaton had kindly put out piles of fodder beet to sustain the deer over winter, and it was brilliant getting a glimpse of the hierarchy between the older males who live on the park. Some piles were occupied by a number of males with smaller antlers, and here there were regular tiffs between consuming members. These tiffs were necessary in the eyes of the males to ensure the strongest males would have the greatest slice of the pie. I did find it quite amusing however that there were piles of fodder beet completely unoccupied by any individual – perhaps these were not worth fighting over if nobody else was interested. It seemed rather black and white to me that you would go for a nice pile of beet where you did not need to fight for a meal but clearly I was missing something. It was interesting to also see other piles of beet that would only have one large stag feeding there, and it was quite obvious why nobody thought it wise to ask even politely to share his meal.

A large male keen to get his fair share of a meal

After another fantastic insight into the social lives of the Red Deer, I took a glance over at the Fallow deer in the protected area of the park. The Fallow are much more timid than their larger red relatives, presumably and understandably due to their relatively dwarfed size. With cold hands, damp feet, and a very red nose, I decided to leave the Fallow to their own business and pester the red deer no more. I wandered back to my nice warm house, happy that I had seen these lovely animals again, and happy that I, unlike them, could say goodbye to the snow and get nice and warm under a roof for the night!

I reckon this male has recently had some sort of tending too, with a clipping perhaps from a recent jab or as a means of marking on his rump.
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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Great blog, I really like the black and white photos

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  2. Fabulous stuff, love the shots.

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  3. georgie Bray says:

    thanks for the comments guys, glad you are enjoying them. Going to put up a blog of the water birds in the next few days as they're just as exciting at the moment

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  4. Warren Price says:

    Hi Georgie, fab images, really enjoyed reading the blog. Thanks for your kind comments on my Kingfisher blog. This was the only way I could get back in touch with you regarding your question.
    I use a Canon 5d MKIII, I usually use a Canon 500mm F4 L lS lens for the Kingfisher portraits and a 7D MKII with a Canon 70-200 F2.8 L lens for the diving shots. I try and get a fast shutter speed, light permitting, as I find this helps with clarity with a low ISO possible. Look forward to seeing your water bird shots, keep up the fab work. Warren. : )

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  5. georgie Bray says:

    Hi Warren, Thanks a lot for getting back to me. The comments on the kingfisher pictures are well deserved, the colour on them is stunning and you catch the light in the sun so well. A little inspired by this I went out myself today to try and catch the iridescence off the mallards feathers on the lake. Thanks for the advice with the equipment as well, I think I better save up for a larger lens of my own – but as always it seems there is always something else that needs to be bought! Look forward to seeing some more of your shots

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