Ok, its not what you probably think. No deer were harmed in the making of this blog.
Yesterday I finally answered that burning question that all sydney siders have wanted to know..
"Can I eat sushi in the city AND see wild deer in the same day?" Ok, maybe no one has ever asked that but it was a fun day none the less.
The day started with a friend in Redfern for a fantastic meal at a little hole in the wall Japanese restaurant. Unfortunately she had to go back to work so I was left to my own devices. I headed back home and after half an hour of restlessness I decided to grab the camera and head down to the Royal national park to see what was about. I had heard there was a large swell about and the weather had an ominous, powerful feeling about it. Packing the gear I thought it would also be fun to try and find a few deer that live in the park. A plan was formed and the 'great wednesday wildlife shoot' was on.
I pulled into the car park at Garie beach and seeing that I was the only one here surmised that everyone had better places to be. Seriously, whats wrong with a cold, wet, windy (very windy) beach on a wednesday! Unperturbed I grabbed my backpack and heading south along the cliffs. I was a bit put off when I saw a sign stating that the park was closed after 8.30 for feral deer management (professional culling). This is unfortunately a necessary program as the deer are an introduced species and their numbers can grow so large that causes great damage to the fauna and landscape, but seriously, of all time to start the program it had to be now??
Not expecting to see much I continued to the top of the ridge and down into an area I had seen deer before. There was nothing to be seen but at least the views were worth it. As I made my way to the flats I started noticing movement, I dropped to the ground and froze. About 200 meters away I could see a few deer, then a few more and more still. The hunters obviously hadn't made it into this area yet and I counted about 35 deer including one majestic, if not very wary buck. He was well aware that something was a foot and I only managed a few frames before he made his way quietly but purposefully back into the thick forest.
I slowly made my way closer, crawling through the tussock grass and hiding behind the cabbage palms. For the next 3 hrs I played the best game of hide and seek I can ever remember. Stalking deer is a huge challenge and with so many of them I had to be very careful only to move when all of them were feeding or looking elsewhere, no easy feat!
It was a great challenge and heaps of fun to try and get close to these beautiful animals, armed only with the camera I was able to leave them pretty much as I found them and not too bothered by my visit. The sun was setting and I left them to feed and started the hike back. I was happy with my first attempt at such photography and I was treated to a spectacular sunset on my way out. I will definitely be back for a better shot of that big buck soon!