Magnificent beast even tried a camouflage look and even a beehive in attempts to attract a female. That’s quite a head-dress, deer. He is one of the mightiest of creatures – and apparently also one of the most regal. Incredible pictures show stag crowning himself with Bracken as rutting season gets underway in Richmond Park.
This mighty stag proved that he was the true king of the forest when he emerged from the undergrowth bellowing and wearing a crown of leaves. The rutting season is well underway for Richmond Park’s red deer, and the adult male’s rivals steered well clear as he put on an impressive show of strength, pawing the ground and shaking his head. His antics attracted a group of eight females, all eager to check out mating credentials
Rutting: This deer looks stag-geringly good in his headwear as he looks to attract a mate. Camouflage: The mighty stag emerged from the bracken with his horns covered in bracken. Mating season: Rutting is well underway for the red deer in Richmond Park in Surrey. Photographer Greg Morgan, 43, watched as the deer raked the ground with his antlers in the Surrey park – a typical show of strength. He slowly built up his headress until it was covering his entire head.
Mr Morgan, from Walthamstow, London, said: ‘I arrived at 5.30am in the early morning light and mist, when no-one else was around. ‘The deer rutting season has just started and I could hear the stags bellowing, so knew where to head.
I was watching another deer when I heard a loud bellow and turned around to see this fellow thrashing about in the bracken with his antlers. ‘The stags do it to strengthen their neck muscles – it’s like training for fighting off their competitors. ‘It also serves to impress females, and there was a harem of around eight around him so it seemed to be working.’ The deer then threw his head back and roared, another classic way to assert power but also to attract a mate.
Mr Morgan, a civil servant, spent the morning watching the deer in Richmond. He estimated this male to be between eight and nine years old and weighed around 400 pounds. Mr Smith, a keen amateur wildlife photographer, said: ‘I’ve been interested in animals since I was a kid and love being out and about.
‘There’s an amazing variety of wildlife on offer in London, which people often don’t expect in the city. ‘Richmond Park is a great place to go and you can see some wonderful things there.’ Rutting season runs from the end of September until the beginning of November.