Having spent this morning shopping and having secured work until January, we decided to celebrate with a walk in the local Oak woods. It had been a wet morning, but the afternoon was dry and windy with a good deal of warm sunlight, between clouds. We took some freshly made biscuits and apple juice as refreshment for our adventure. It was nice to be under the cover of trees with no-one else around.
The wind was howling amongst the upper branches, but below the canopy the air was fairly still. It was only in the clearings where you would experience a proportion of the wind and the intense heat of the sun (by UK standards).
The oak leaves were starting to turn brown. Autumn was starting in mid August instead of the end of September. The same was true of the birch trees on the lower slopes. However, the bracken was not starting to produce spores, so that was not as advanced as the big trees.
At the edge of the forest we saw a buck with the start of his antler growth. These animals tend to be quite solitary outside of the breeding season. He spotted us and was off like a shot, but I did manage to capture an image or two before he retreated into the woods.
With a keen eye and a quiet stance, being downwind of the deer, it is possible to get a good picture now and again, without disturbing the animals. The Fallow Deer in this part of Staffordshire are very dark in colour all of the year around. They lack the fawn coat with white spots that other fallow deer show. If you are not familiar with them, you may question the species.
We also saw a pair of hinds in the field across the river as we returned home, but the cameras had been put away by then.