Friday, 24 April 2009

Chance Encounter with a Roe Buck

Last week I made a late afternoon visit to Epsom Common in the vain hope of finding a confiding bird to photograph. Well I actually heard more than I saw including Chiffchaffs, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jays and the resident Crows plus a few Magpies. As I walked beyond the Great Pond out onto High Meadow (open grassland with some scrub thickets) heading for the sounds of Common Whitethroat I had a feeling that something was watching the ‘watcher’ as the hairs on the back of my neck pricked into my shirt collar.
The ‘watcher’ stopped and slowly turned to his right to find a young Roe buck, sporting his fresh soft velvet antlers, staring straight at him. There was no perceivable movement from the watched who continued to stare and the ‘watcher’ tried to remain calm as his pulse rate quickened. Both the watched and the ‘watcher’ seemed to be transfixed in a moment in time. The ‘watcher’ very cautiously removed his camera from its holster, still no change in attitude by the watched, and with a light breeze in favour of the ‘watcher’ the camera was lifted to shooting position and a few shots were fired. A slight twitch by the watched as he ‘nosed’ the air to capture any smell of the ‘watcher’ but still all four feet were rooted to the spot. The ‘watcher’ fired two more volleys and while checking the results the watched started to move, very slowly, away just a matter of a yard or two revealing his tailless rear and then stopped and turned his head towards the ‘watcher’. The eyes of the watched and the ‘watcher’ briefly met once more and as the ‘watcher’ fired his final salvo the watched moved slowly away totally unharmed by this chance encounter.

The grey-brown winter coat (grown during Sept to Oct) is moulted the following spring and will ultimately turn a foxy-red with a distinctive buff patch on the rump during the coming weeks.


  1. Your deer have no tails?

    Isn't it a special thing to look a wild creature in the eye? It makes me feel as if I am drawn into their world.

  2. Like both photos. Always like the photos when they are looking back at the camera.

    Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

  3. Hi Frank,
    Wow you got the feeling!! How does it feel to be observed? Lucky it did not have any camera ;-)
    This is a very nice encounter. Here except reindeer, you will not see a lot of mammal of this type! Well done.

  4. These are great shots! Love your little commentary.

  5. Lynne, of all the different species here the Roe Deer is the only one without a visible tail. Yes, it is a precious & magical time when you are 'in tune' with nature.

    Leedra. Thanks, this was one occassion when the quarry behaved for the camera.

    Chris. Thanks, I did wonder if he was going to say "Who do you think you are looking at".

    Thanks Montanagirl, I just tried to capture in words how it felt at that moment.

  6. Nice photos of this deer. It's a funny looking one though..Ha! I'm used to our white tailed ones around here. It's so neat when you get a good close up of them!!

  7. What a wonderful experience. A beautiful animal, an beautiful encounter.

    Wow, almost a real word for my verification: numbr

  8. Brilliant Frank!
    Really captured the tension in words and pictures. I'd have been 'buzzing' for ages after that.

  9. This is the kind of encounter we like to get more often Frank. Your target kindly gave you the opportunity to get your camera out, which I find is not normally the case.!! Lovely photos.

  10. Ginnymo. Wildlife comes in all shapes & sizes. This one just happens to have no tail, just a small 'bump'.

    Heather. One to remember for some time to come.

    Keith, I see you're up early again! Yes, I was definitely on cloud nine, so to speak, for a while after.

    Roy. If it happened every day would we get the same pleasure? I think I would. I was in two minds about shooting him, in case the moment was lost, but I think he wanted the encounter to be recorded. Have a great weekend.

  11. He is handsome! What a neat capture!!!

  12. Thanks Shelly. I see the Pine Siskin likes your new lens!

  13. Great photos and a wonderful encounter.

  14. Such clarity on both pictures. Great shots of an utterly gorgeous creature.

  15. I find these animals absolutely stunning and so elegant standing there as curious as you.
    I have often met the forest creatures in the same manners and it truly is a magical experience.
    Your photos are beautiful!

  16. Oh my goodness! Fantastic photos...and enjoyed your narration too. Must have been a fantastic experience...

  17. Lovely subject and a very enjoyable read right up to the end. And you managed to get some good pictures too :D

  18. Loved your commentary..I felt like I was there with you and the "watched"
    at first I thought you were joking about the no tails...but then I saw your last pic...? huh? is this common?

  19. Hi Mick, Kim, Michelle, Kelly, Tricia & Tina. Thanks & glad you enjoyed the encounter with me.

    Michelle, I guess your location probably provides more oppportunities for this sort of magical meeting.

    Tina. Of all the endemic species here it is only the Roe Deer that doesn't have a visible tail.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


Related Posts with Thumbnails