Belfast Telegraph

Stunning snap of swimming stag makes a splash on internet

By Laura Abernethy

This incredible photograph captures the moment a stag decided to cool off in the water.

Colin Beacom, a ranger at Crom Estate in Co Fermanagh, took the snap of the animal swimming in Upper Lough Erne on Wednesday.

The amateur wildlife photographer and some volunteers were sailing in a traditional flat-bottomed boat in the 2,000-acre National Trust estate when they turned a bend and were met with the stag paddling from Inishturk island to Derrygore.

The ranger's picture has been hugely popular on social media, with thousands of people sharing it across the world.

Colin said: "The simple boat is used for areas that don't have a jetty, and it meant that he wasn't too bothered by us. He just went on his way and I was able to take the picture.

"Deer swim a lot because it's a long trek to get to some of the other parts of the estate. It takes about 40 minutes by road, but just five minutes by water.

"They are very strong swimmers, so they take to the water all the time - but it's not often you get to see it.

"To see deer in the water, you usually have to be in a boat, but the noise of the boat engine can scare them off. This was a chance occurrence. It was just a case of right time, right place."

Colin also told how he always carries the small point-and-shoot digital camera that he used to photograph the stag because he likes to document how the estate changes throughout the year.

The swimming deer is not the first beautiful image the ranger has captured on camera. He has shot pictures of deer playing and having a snack in the park and has even managed to get up close and personal to a red squirrel.

The red squirrel population on the estate has declined in recent years because of a loss of habitat and the negative impact of the larger grey squirrel. But after a recent resurgence in numbers, Colin was able to get a shot of the rarely-seen rodent.

Crom Estate has a 24-acre deer park, but there is also a thriving wild deer population.

It is one of Ireland's most important conservation zones and has been designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest in an attempt to help protect the native wildlife.

The estate is host to more than 1,000 species, including otters and a healthy population of pine martens, all of which take advantage of the diverse landscape.

Belfast Telegraph


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