The October day started a bit misty and there were signs of winter approaching, but there was the promise of some sunshine in the forecast. So it was an early start towards along the Norfolk coast to look at the possibility of getting some shots of fallow deer.
With allegedly more deer in the UK now than in Medieval times, we often see small groups of deer grazing on the farmland, Muntjac by the road side and Chinese water deer in the marshes.
Along the coastal roads it’s not uncommon to come across small groups of Fallow deer outside Holkham’s park fence.
Fallow are the most social of the UK’s deer, what I didn’t realise was that these small groups were all part of a much large herd of about 500 deer that live around the hall alongside a smaller herd of Red deer.
So the challenge was to see if I could get some shots of them as they begin to gather for the their annual rut. It wasn’t difficult to see both species, but I thought that getting close enough to get decent shots might be difficult.
Although not yet in full rutting mode some of the bucks seemed to be gathering and sparring at the edge of a large group of does, who were lying down making the most of the October sunshine and unseasonable warmth.
At first I tried to get some images of the a few very skittish bucks that seemed to be eyeing up the does. The alpha buck was resting in the shade but obviously in charge for the moment.
Despite the growing sounds of antlers crashing together, as more young stags began to join the sparring groups, the main group seemed fairly relaxed about humans getting close to them.
But my guess is that later in the month when the weather turns a bit more autumnal and the bucks begin to challenge the adult male, things might be very different.
After a quick lunch I moved along the coast for a quick visit to Titchwell, RSPB reserve to see if the number of our winter visitors was increasing. Over the past few weeks there had been a growing number of Spotted Redshank, Bar Tailed Godwit, Black Tailed Godwit and wintering Ruff, together with a few Grey Plover and a huge flock of Golden Plover.
The long range forecast for the rest of the month signaled a a succession of cold easterly storms which might hopefully bring in some more overwintering birds.