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Early Summer Roe Deer Project - 2022

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I've been visiting a nature reserve on the Sussex/Surrey border since 2011, and it's an ideal place to photograph Roe deer, especially in early summer, when the grass isn't too tall and food sources are plentiful. Human visitors to the reserve are almost always polite and considerate to me. The fact that roe deer can be observed from close quarters in plain sight is testament to how much local people care about the animals and birds living here. Although a few photographers know about the reserve, I prefer not to share the location, as photographers would be at cross-purposes, with one person having to structure their activity around the others'. The mature buck (see below) is chasing a younger, smaller buck away from his territory, following one of many incursions. The unfortunate victim of chasing had a rotten day. More on this later. Visitors to this site will be delighted to recognise the same mature buck from 2021. It's a pity that I wasn't able to spot any

The Sussex Bluebell Season

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Welcome to my 2022 bluebell woodland project, which this year took me to quiet woodlands near the town of Hailsham in East Sussex. The majority of people enjoy bluebell displays at the very popular Abbot's Wood, but other woodlands can be discovered through (occasional) word of mouth. To protect these woodlands, I will not share the location names, and not without good reason. I noticed severe damage to bluebells in Abbot's Wood, caused by intentional trampling.  In the past, saying hello to people and starting up conversations in the countryside was the norm, but in the last few years, I've begun to notice that the majority of walkers refuse to speak to me out of fear. Ten years ago, people would stop and ask me about my photography, take my card and bring up my work the next time we met. That has all gone, possibly forever. Another exceptionally mild (and dry) winter and spring lead to early flowering, with the peak height and blooming around 25th April. I visited the w

Early Summer Roe Deer Project - June 2021

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I felt like a fraud at first, but I returned to the deer meadow in 2021 by train and bike. Last year's prohibitions on the use of public transport for non-essential journeys meant completing the entire 52 mile round trip by bicycle. I can now step off the train and cycle to the nature reserve, but I still get 8 miles of cycling. I am drawn to the meadow in early June because an explosion of wildflowers attracts Roe deer from surrounding land to feed, raise young and establish territory for the rutting season.  I've struck lucky with a tolerant older buck this summer (see below). At first, I thought he was the same buck from 2019 and 2020, but they are probably just related. He was a little nervous on the first encounter. The buck got up, ate as many buttercups as he could and moved to a different spot nearby. It's almost as if was hedging his bets. My presence didn't frighten him, but the deer stocked up on energy in case I turned out to be one of the unfortunate recen

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