I have a game I like to play when I go for a walk in Richmond Park, I have in mind a rough direction I want to go, point myself in that direction and then walk and (and this is where the ‘game’ part fits in), when I come to a fork in the path I will head down whichever branch my gut says to go down. Now my gut is largely lead by how pretty / mysterious / photogenic / new (to me) the path looks, but I think my gut is also slightly concerned about not walking in the wrong direction, so I do (well most of the time), end up where I planned to be, but it’s always a bit of mystery about how I’m going to get there. It’s an exercise in trusting my instincts and trying to take some decision making out of my life and to just go with the flow a bit, move on and find what’s behind the next corner.
And today’s walk turned out to be a lot about light; about the light shining through the dew wet long grass or through the canopy overhead.
It was also about deer, a lot of deer. The two photos below are from the first group I came across. Shortly after I’d taken the second photo of the pair, the young male deer in the photo (taken on maximum zoom I hasten to add, I’m not silly enough to get that close to them if I can help it, particularly at this time of year) broke into a run and literally leapt across the path I was standing on, closely followed by all the other young deer, the females and the stag, seeing them run like that, so close in the dappled sunshine was breathtaking.
The next group of deer, or should I say groups was towards the end of my walk. I had been walking in more woodland and I could hear a stag bellowing nearby, which is always slightly unnerving when you can hear them but can’t see them, although luckily it turned out that they weren’t that close by, I finally spotted them when I came out of the wood and onto a patch of grassland, the bellows from a stag can really travel a long way, I’ve even heard them from our flat at night sometimes. Anyway this is the noisy fellow.
And why was he being so noisy? Well it turned out he was having a bit of a ‘chat’, because it wasn’t just his little group in the area, there was a much larger group a few metres away under one of the trees, plus a fully grown stag without any ladies hanging round on the outskirts of the two groups and getting threatened plus a little further away another full grown stag who may or may not have had any ladies of his own because he was a bit of a distance away and in long grass, so I couldn’t see. I think the noisy stag wanted to big up his presence a bit because the stag under the nearby tree had a far better looking group with the cutest looking babies.
And this is the dad, looking like he’s having his cake and eating it, sitting there not a care in the world about the other group so close by or the solo male stag trying to pinch his ladies, he can frighten them all off without even standing up. He doesn’t even ‘care’ how close he’s parked his group next to the road with all those humans on.
- King of Richmond Park: Deer emerges from the undergrowth with a crown of bracken and leaves (dailymail.co.uk)