Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 12:56 UK
Watching the annual red deer rut
Renee Hockley-Byam
Renee Hockley-Byam
BBC Essex

Fallow buck
Fallow deer have been a part of British parks and forest since the 11th century

Renee Hockley-Byam is the nature expert for BBC Essex; she is keeping a weekly diary recording the changing season.

On a morning walk in Greenstead Green near Halstead a mature fallow buck and around 25 or so does were spotted.

"We found what appeared to be a rutting stand, where the buck had been scraping the ground and urinating to mark the site," said Renee.

"Shortly afterwards we saw the deer running through the woods - obviously they heard us before we saw them."

Week 3

Sunday, 18 October

Got back last night from a few days in Suffolk watching the red deer rutting at Minsmere - amazing to see a huge stag mate with two hinds. My son thinks I am rather sad!

Awoke to a fantastic bright day after a frosty night so decided to go to Marks Hall at Coggeshall to see if there were any signs of the fallow deer rutting which is usually a bit later than the red deer rut.

Deer slots
The cloven hoof of the deer leaves a clear impression in the ground

Nothing much going on sadly - it seems pretty quiet, although I have seen quite a few of their slots (footprints) where the ground is wet and muddy in some places.

Our stealth and patience was rewarded as a small group of does skipped out on to the path as we walked quietly along.

They seemed as fascinated with us as we are to watch them.

Our border collie is so well trained now, and used to seeing them, that she sits immediately without being told and will not move until the deer have moved quietly away.

Still no sign of a fallow buck though - I am sure we will hear one grunting and belching soon enough.

Seem to be seeing more fungi around now, and we found a few nice fresh field mushrooms which we took home and enjoyed for lunch.

Tuesday, 20 October

We glimpsed a mature fallow buck and around 25 or so does while on a morning walk near Greenstead Green.

Pheasant
The brightly coloured male pheasant spotted in hedgerows and on farmland

Apparently there is a huge problem with deer poaching so that may be one reason why it is pretty quiet.

Dusk is my favourite time of day and out walking this evening we spotted a sparrow hawk sitting on a telegraph pole, a buzzard having to avoid the attentions of crows not happy to see him flying over their roost and two hares ambling around on a newly set arable field.

Absolute magic!

The shooting season is well under way and in the early evening the pheasants and partridges gather at the field edges and in droves in the country lanes as they prepare to fly up to roost.

So many die on the roads before they ever get to be shot!

Thursday, 22 October

Visited the National Trust's Hatfield Forest to record a BBC Essex Nature Trail there for Friday, 30 October.

Lake at Hatfield Forest
The former Royal Hunting Forest is maintained by the National Trust

It is spectacular at this time of year, with the leaves starting to colour up really well now.

After spending some time with Head Warden Henry Bexley I headed off for a walk.

Saw a few fallow deer, but apparently it needs the weather to turn colder before they start to rut, so it will be quite late this year.

Then it was off to the lovely lake to enjoy coffee and lunch at the little café there.

There was a single great crested grebe on the lake and from the information boards it seems that a chick hatched in September.

Now that is really late, is that a sign of global warming? Wonder how it will fare through the cold months.




SEE ALSO
Autumn brings nature into focus
14 Oct 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
Celebrating the changing season
09 Oct 09 |  Nature & Outdoors

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS


BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific