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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Red Deer on the First Day of Autumn

There aren’t many human visitors on site now, but it’s all happening with the red deer. It’s 8pm and almost dark. In the last light you can see two deer on the skyline. Sitting in the caravan with the lights off makes a brilliant wildlife observation hide. A massive, magnificent, dark-coloured stag with many points on his antlers has come down from the hill on to the site to exert his authority over the hinds. There is something primeval about him, as though the forest has come to life. He has scared away the young males and is pursuing a small herd of hinds with this year’s calves right past the caravan window. The calves are watching him curiously but warily. He lifts his head and roars a groaning, grunting, mooing roar, no doubt directed at the stags over the burn.

These deer are not tame, although the hinds and calves are very people-tolerant. We do not feed them. I guess they’re around so much because this was their home, before ever there was a campsite- and the golf course has juicy green grass as well!

We regularly see unusual and amusing insights into red deer life. The other day I saw two stags sitting down, absolutely motionless, being pecked all over by jackdaws. The deer clearly didn’t want to move as they were enjoying it so much. The birds were probably de-ticking them.

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