I placed my camera trap on a tree next to a deer path in Savernake Forest on Tuesday, and then returned to check on and collect it this morning. There is always such a sense of anticipation when returning to it, I feel so excited about what the animals might have left for me, and real disappointment if I’ve left it pointing too high to catch anything, or the batteries have run out. But this time was successful. I wanted to capture images of deer, especially the Fallow Deer, and ended up getting photos of several individual animals, of three species. Fallow, Roe and Muntjac.
Before I checked the camera, I stopped and sat on a nearby fallen tree, and listened. I wanted to pay attention to the whole Forest rather than just focus on a few images. Here are some of the words that I wrote in my Walking Diary, and a few of the images as they are now.
‘My camera trap is over to my right, half-hidden, camouflaged. A woodpecker is tapping loudly in the same direction, but higher. A tap, then a pause, a few more explorative taps, almost like its asking a question.
Flies glide in smooth, slow, hovering flight paths around each other, more like a dance than anything else. Slow, formal, Tudor?
And a pigeon. Woo, Woo, Woo. Deep and regular.
I was going to write about my anticipation – the camera and what it holds, the glimpses of last night or yesterday – of the animals who really are a part of here, not just visiting, like me, but integral pieces of this mossy, rich, living, breathing whole.
Now that I sit here, the Forest speaks so loudly and clearly, the camera trap fades – a flicker in my consciousness amongst all the other sensations that I’m being given. Birds hold court here, high up in the branches, sending out song through the air to meet and fill the Forest.’