A friend recently bought a new camera and was keen to get out and about and asked me a good place to go. I suggested we could go to Studley Royal as the Red Deer rut is about to happen and if it hadn't started he'd definitely get some great pictures with his new camera.
Unfortunately for us the deer were very placid with very little rut activity. A couple of the younger stags occasionally tried to get friendly with a female but they weren't having any of it, and frankly their attempts to dress up their antlers were poor to say the least. It seems we were at least a week or two early.
But the weather was great so the photo opportunities were good and we enjoyed watching some photographers with no idea of field craft or how to approach animals slowly herd the deer in our direction.
As there wasn't any real action I was keeping my eye out for anything out of the ordinary rather than just photographing the deer.
This young fallow deer was having a great time bouncing off some youthful exuberance.
A young stag decided that if they were good enough for squirrels then acorns were good enough for him.
These two fallow deer passed each other without seeming to notice the other was there, one in shadow the other in the sunshine.
As we were heading back to the car I commented that the big stags were conspicuous by their absence and I was beginning to wonder if something had happened to them when I noticed one all alone resting under a tree. His antlers marked him out as something special and when he wandered away I decided my money would be on him when the rut kicks off properly.
He decided to pause for a drink from a puddle and like a boxer between rounds seemed to swill his mouth. When the bell sounds for the start of the rut I think he'll be ready.