The final destination on my Saturday excursion down to Dorset was RSPB Arne in the hope of getting a few Sika Deer shots out on the flowering heather. It's fair to say after all of the excitement of the Short-Billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor and driving the 15miles or so the scenic way around to the edge of Wareham we had arrived a little late as the sun was no rapidly disappearing behind a cloud bank coming in from the channel.
It was a little after 5.30pm and following a brief look over the Middlebere channel we headed back towards the Salt Marsh and Poole Harbour, I soon spotted a Sika Stag in the middle of one of the grass fields, but he was stood alone and on guard something didn't appear to be right, I began to wonder if the Rut had started early. All then became apparent as a rather large Pit Bull come Staffy was stalking determinedly up the fence line on the edge of the field.
The Stag started to rear his head and scrape back the ground with his hooves, as I had visions of something messy about to happen the dog seemed to get them too and disappeared off through the fence, crisis averted! Once further around the path we caught up with a couple who asked if we had seen a dog, they said the RSPB Warden was out with the dogs owners looking for it we relayed our sighting and the mutual look past between us as to what the hell the dog was doing in the middle of one of the RPSB's flagship reserves off of the lead!
As we walked to the end of the field and the start of the woodland we could hear the owners shouting for it to come back, fair to say I didn't know people who owned those kind of dogs could get so high pitched and call it such a tame name.
As for the deer, I didn't expect to see many at all after having seen the Dog running amok in amongst them, and certainly not for them to stand nicely for a photograph. So I was quite chuffed when I spotted a couple of Hinds hidden in the Bracken 30 yards or so from the footpath. I tried some natural framing too as an array of Silver Birch trees stood between me and the Deer.
Another 20 yards down the path and a few more Hinds emerged out on to the Heather, just what I was after, and even happier as 2 Calves followed. So not quite what I had envisaged with the light etc, but after the fracas with the loose Dog I was more than happy at what we saw and what I managed to photography, and glad that I didn't have to witness a Sika Stag go berserk, well maybe I would have been if it had been the dogs owners!
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