I was exceedingly pleased to learn last week that my image of a white sika deer won the RSPB’s ‘Picture Arne’ photo competition, judged by wildlife broadcasting legend Mr Chris Packham!
There are several white sika in the area surrounding Poole Harbour in Dorset. They are a ‘white morph’ since they don’t have the red eyes one would expect in a true albino.
Sika deer (Cervus nippon) are not native to the UK but escaped from captivity on nearby Brownsea Island some decades ago, since when they have made the Isle of Purbeck and surrounding area their home.
The RSPB’s reserve on the Arne peninsula supports a number of scarce species – most notably the dartford warbler (Sylvia undata), but also heath-loving reptiles such as the sand lizard and smooth snake.
I stumbled across this scene late one sultry August evening last year whilst returning home from another photographic project. The young sika stag was browsing in a meadow, accompanied by a small group of other more conventionally coloured deer.
Taken with the Canon EF 100-400mm lens.