The serious deer spotter must be up early.
While commonplace in the Galloway countryside - deer can often be glimpsed beyond a hedge from your car - they are tricky customers to catch close up.
In the garden at Burnside Cottage there is always evidence the deer have visited. Broken down grass and reeds show where they cross the fence from the neighbouring field, or large flattened patches reveal where they have bedded down for the night.
Even so these early risers can prove elusive.
Fortunately, the garden at the cottage is overlooked from the house, so observations can be made in the warm with a frothy coffee from the expresso machine, or your first cup of tea of the day, in hand.
Deer are not popular with farmers because they cause plenty of damage, but to the visitor they are charming. Furtive and shy, they are constantly checking their surroundings with backward glances or they stand stock-still waiting for any potential predator to show itself. They will sense your movement even when you think you are hidden behind the glass of the cottage windows.
Once they know you are there, they're gone. Incredibly agile, they can clear a fence from a standing start and gallop away across the field before you've even got a hand on your binoculars.
Having said all that, occasionally a deer will walk right up to the house. My brother captured this photograph on his phone from the bedroom window. And he wasn't even trying