Sunrise with the stags in London

I must be crazy. This morning I woke up at 6.15am by choice (NB: I am not a morning person. I am the opposite of a morning person) to take some photos of deer. Nutter, I know.

It’s always been a bucket list thing for me, to go and see the deer in one of London’s parks and photograph them during the golden hour. Seeing there are always so many people around in the evening, I thought going for sunrise instead of sunset would be amazing, but was never quite sure I’d actually manage to get up that early. Luckily, Jesse is kind of amazing and equally enthusiastic about photography, with the added bonus that early mornings aren’t such a struggle for him, so he came along on the insane escapade and ensured I got out of bed in time. Win.

For most Londoners, Richmond Park is the go-to for a spot of deer-sighting, but last weekend Jesse and I found ourselves driving through Bushy Park, right outside historical Hampton Court. Lined with gorgeous yellow and orange leafy trees, consisting large areas covered in wild shrubbery and packed full of deer, it became the new forerunner for our wee photography mission.

I was worried in a park so large we wouldn’t be able to find the deer, but these guys don’t make their location a secret and in the dawn light, we heard them before we saw them. I felt like the stags’ loud bellows so aptly matched my grumpy, sleep-deprived state. Every time one put his head back and made a long, low sound reminiscent of the sound I make when I’m dragged out of bed earlier than I’d like, I threw my hands in the air and said “amen, mate.”

Apparently October is the best time to see British deer rutting – stags engaging in mating battles. We were lucky to see a few of the males get involved in some stand-offs, and some of the younger ones mimic the fight in a kind of half-hearted, trying-to-look-cool-in-front-of-the-boys way, which was pretty cute.

Standing there this morning, in the middle of a misty, quiet woodland area with no city sounds around, I had to remind myself I was in one of the world’s biggest metropolises. I took too many photos to count, but I’m sharing some of my favourites below. A very cool experience, and definitely a tick on the London must-see list!

#outside #london #exploring #wildlife #deer #mustsee