Hello and welcome to the October edition of my photographic exploits. I don't know about you guys but to me Autumn is a couple of weeks later than usual. This time last year we had frosty mornings and the leaves had already turned to the Autumn colours which make this time of the year one of the best for photography. Towards the end of October things are slowly starting happen. The unseasonal warm temperature has affected the annual deer rut. I visited Bradgate park in Leicestershire a few times and the deer spent most of the time sun-bathing!! It's been a strange year weather-wise so far.
Bradgate park has been on my 'bucket list' for a few years so this year was the year I was going to concentrate solely on to photograph the 'rut'. I normally visit the London royal parks but they are getting too busy and it is hard work trying to keep people out of shot! Bradgate park has both Red and Fallow deer in good numbers and is a very scenic and natural looking location for the deer. Lots of hiils, rocky outcrops, woodlands, ponds and rivers. There is also an abundance of birdlife and some great walks in mature oak woodland.
Fallow buck in Bradgate Park
Sparring stags in Bradgate
Other wildlife can be found in Bradgate such as this grey squirrel eating a sweet chestnut.
Meadow pipit perched on a rocky outcrop. Bradgate Park, Leicestershire.
After a few productive visits to Bradgate I got to know some good areas so I will visit the park at various times of the year and see how the various seasons affect the place. The Fallow deer are still 'rutting' (till mid November) so I will make another couple of trips and hopefully get some great behavioural images.
Red deer hind watching the setting sun in Bradgate Park.
An event I look forward to in the Autumn is the Scramble at Bicester heritage in my home county of Oxfordshire. It's a classic car show with a few classic aircraft that fly in to the ex-RAF base. It's also a mecca for car photographers who like me, like to see the cars of yesteryear in period settings which in this case is an old air base. Many of the buildings are as they were during the wars and make great backdrops for classic cars.
1932 Austin Seven at Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire.
Classic Porsche 911
During October I made my monthly trip to the Hawk conservancy trust in Hampshire. I love the flying displays there but this time I wanted to concentrate on the owls. Owls are most peoples favourite bird so I wanted to get some flying owl images and on this visit the weather was ideal (not too bright with very little wind).
A Great grey owl gliding silently across a woodland pond at the Hawk conservancy.
As you know I've made a few days trips to capture the red deer but there are a few not too far from my home. They are located in the Chiltern hills and when a good sunset is on the cards I venture up there to capture the deer silhouetted against the setting sun. The deer have to be in the right place which is not always the case! Also the setting sun has to create its magical coloured skies. I was rewarded with some great shots on one particular visit and saw a stunning red fox trot past close to the stags. Talk about right place at the right time which is what a lot of nature photography can be about. Many visits I come back with no worthwhile images but patience can pay dividends.
Red deer stag watching the setting sun from the Chiltern hills.
Red fox and stag silhouetted against the setting sun.
As Autumn is a bit late this year I haven't done much foraging for fungi. I made a quick visit to Warburg in South Oxfordshire and found a few decent specimens but we haven't had much rain. Fungi like damp, warm & dark conditions. Hopefully November will be more productive.
Lurid bolete in Warburg nature reserve, South Oxfordshire.
Kingfisher at Wilstone reservoir, Herts.
As for next month I don't have much planned. I was going to spend a few days in Norfolk but the day job keeps me very busy with only weekends free at the moment. I plan on visiting local woodland for my fungi fix and a couple of return trips to Bradgate. I am waiting for some frosty/misty mornings which can add a bit of atmosphere to your nature images.
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