Sunday, 5 October 2014

Dozy deer

A cold and sunny morning dawned, and I went off to Knole Park to see what the deer were up to. Answer, not much. So it's not started yet... or perhaps I've missed it. But I don't think I have. You'd expect to see bucks with their harems when they have finished battling for dominance and I didn't...

This one was on his own, dozing in the sunshine. I'm sure he's thinking lovely deer thoughts of beating up other bucks and getting it on with lots of does. It was a beautiful morning - and a frosty one, though the rising sun quickly turned the frost to dew.

Actually I didn't find any other mature bucks - there must be some but maybe not many, which would make it a quiet rut this year. Not so much choice for the does, but maybe that doesn't matter if the bucks that are available are good 'uns (and no doubt the park management has ensured that they are).

This doe was having a good old sniff of the air. No doubt that's the way she'll know when it's time for her and her friends to check out the talent and choose a father for their next fawns.

There seemed to be fewer Meadow Pipits about than the other week. Otherwise, bird sightings were much the same.

I managed to get a little bit closer to a Green Woodie this time.

Ring-necks everywhere, as usual. They aren't all that shy, but like to sit in the tops of very tall trees which makes photographing them perched pretty much a non-starter. And today I was a bit too slow on the draw for any flight shots.

Another treetop gathering. These Carrion Crows were making a right racket. Joining in from nearby were Jays and Jackdaws. Maybe there was a Fox or bird of prey about, or maybe it was just a wild corvid party.

Pied Waggie in a tree - not that usual a sight. It was sharing the tree with Chaffinches and a couple of juvenile-plumaged Goldfinches. Also seen but not snapped were Nuthatches, Goldcrests, Blue and Great Tits and my first Knole Coal Tit.

A puzzling group of deer. At least three are bucks, including one that looks almost-but-not-quite rut-ready, but I can't see any antlers on the rest. Young bucks and does usually live separate lives...

It seems to have been a poor acorn crop this year. I had a good look over one of the oaks I passed and the only acorns I saw on it were these two, both sprouting big knopper galls.

By contrast, the Sweet Chestnuts are throwing out fruit like there's no tomorrow. Some of the chestnuts were irresitably plump and glossy, and I ended up collecting a pocketful of them.

Decided I'd better get home, as I have some work to do this weekend. I went back via the little eco-park by the main town car park, where I photographed these pretty backlit leaves. Back home, I roasted the chestnuts and now my flat smells lovely. Planning to mix them with melted chocolate, as apparently you end up with something like Nutella, but better.


Bob Telford said...

Very nice set of pictures Marianne, especially that glorious light. Intr=ersting to see its been a poor year fro Acorn, considering the amount of other fruit that has been so abundant. Good luck with the rut - I need to go and check out the local deer parks and see what's happening there.

Phil said...

Nice account and pics Marianne.
Shame about the rut, or lack of. I remember going there last year and being disappointed by the lack of action.