Friday, 25 October 2019

Fallow Rut

This past week has seen a lot of action with our deer rutting. The reds have slowed down, but our fallow are beginning to warm up. Above is a short video clip catching the end of the action after a good 15 minute bout.

Our two bucks are fairly evenly matched this year. Norman, the white buck, has been the lead for the last few years but the challenger, Vinny, is really going for it and trying to become the master buck.

Early signs are that he will prevail! He has the does rounded up, and is currently successfully keeping Norman away.

A lot of "barking" and strutting around the park, he is putting on a great exhibition.

He really does look shattered though, and maybe he has timed it a little too early. Norman with his experience may well still come in and take control once Vinny has worn himself out. Time will tell.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Deer Rut

It's that time of year when our deer are really putting on a show!.. Rutting season is in full flow and at the moment there seems to be a clear winner for our reds.

Albus (Dumbledeer) has been putting on a real good show, posturing around the park and roaring away. The sound is incredible, and easily heard around the Centre, but what always gets me every year is the smell!.. You really have to come and experience the musty smell to appreciate what I mean.

So far Albus has managed to keep the other stags away from the heard, and he is clearly still larger than our second stag Olivander, and so I think he will comfortably be in charge for the mating season.

The rut is a real test of stamina. The stags rarely eat or sleep during the rut while trying to keep the other males away, and the females with them. Their necks fill out and scent glands become more obvious below their eyes. We have not seen much clashing of antlers this year, but this hasn't stopped the frequent roaring and posturing of Albus, clearing showing everyone he thinks he is in charge!

Fallow deer tend to follow the red deer rut by a few weeks, and they are beginning to strut about and bellow out there bark! It seems our younger buck Vinny has decided to try and take control. He has pushed our older white buck Norman out of the group, and got all the females grouped up with him.

This youngster will be too young to try to take control, but our much more experienced white buck is likely just biding his time. He knows the females aren't ready yet, and will probably put up a good challenge when the time is right and the newbie Vinny has wasted a lot of his energy.

Time will tell who will be master buck this year, it will be a close call I think, and possibly some good actual antler clashing rutting going on over the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

New Roe Buck

Meet our new roe buck, Rowan.

Rowan arrived earlier this week from the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital where he had been rescued as a young buck. Having been there so long, he has become too steady around people to release back in to the wild, and having a lone doe here who needs company it made sense to offer him a home here.

Rowan has settled in extremely quickly, he now has access to a large copse area which offers plenty of natural cover and hiding spots, and has very quickly met up with our female Chestnut. He sticks to her like glue at the moment, unsurprisingly as she is probably the first other roe deer he has been able to interact with properly for a long time. Given time he will gain some independence, but will never be to far from her. So if you see her, keep your eyes open for him.

Here is Chesnut, a real beauty hey? The roe is one of two native deer to the UK, the other being the red deer. One of my favourites, the roe deer is a sleek stunner, very secretive and usually found on their own, pairs or very small groups. They are however the most common deer we have in this country.

Keep your eyes open for the pair of them. They will be a little harder to spot than our main herds of red and fallow, but it will be well worth it when you do see them!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Photo of the Month: September 2019

"Wildcat Snarling" by Robert Murray

Often when looking through the photographs that have been shared on social media, there seems to be trends on what has been photographed. Maybe some see one they like then share a similar one they have taken too?.. All good for us that enjoy seeing photographs of our animals, and these past few weeks it seems to be snarling wildcats that have been popular. 

We chose this photograph above by Robert Murray as our photo for September of Braveheart doing what wildcats do best! This photograph will be in our coffee shop gallery next year, and in with a chance to win a photographic day here at the Centre. 

As always, more photos below, and click on the link in the names to see more pictures taken by these photographers. 

"Barn Owl in Flight" by Phil Sheer

"Practicing his scary lion routine" by Amanda Collins Eade

"Yellow neck mice eating" by Karen Jones

"Marsh Frog" by Steve Liptrot