Duel in the Sun by Roger Cox
October. High noon, and on the valley plain of a park in Leicestershire, two red deer stags face one another in a hostile take-over for breeding rights to the hinds in their charge. On the left, the reigning champion, who thus far has managed to fend off all attempts to oust him and lay claim to his sizable harem. On the right, an upstart pretender, hoping to expand his budding herd and reputation with a swift and decisive acquisition of everything his opponent has fought long and hard to keep.
Five metres apart, and the message is clear; the fight is on!
Suddenly in a clash and tangle of antlers, the two become locked in mortal combat, and as push comes to shove, backs arch and straighten; neck and leg muscles flex as tendons strain under the brute force of calves and haunches driving forward and against to weaken the other’s resolve – else gouge or gash them into submission. Yet, it's the leaner, more experienced champion who summons the might of his sinews to press the attack, gaining more and more ground to lift his opponent's head, causing him to lose his footing and concede defeat by way of a hasty retreat.
To the victor, the spoils – a nearly seventy per cent stake in the bloodline of the next generation and, for his progeny, the prospect of a dynasty, all founded on a few hard yards, won from a gruelling, if not fateful, duel in the sun.
The beauty of nature photography is that it can become "surprise photography," capturing some rare and unusual moments that are well-worth sharing. The Photo Of The Month Gallery is a collection of images and accounts by like-minded enthusiasts who were kind enough to share their more inspirational moments on the PotM Calendar.