The beginnings of the rut seem to be starting. We were watching a fine Red Deer stag in Richmond Park thrashing his antlers against some oak branches + noticed he had been wallowing as his lower body was wet + dark stained. His tongue was excitedly testing the air (there were a few hinds + calves near him) + then started actively sniffing the rear of one particular hind. He also roared 3 times. As the month progresses there should be even more activity.
I put my moth trap out last night, and when I went to take a look at it just before going to bed I saw a bat flying over the garden! Only last weekend my mother and I were saying that it's many years since we had bats here.
I don't know what sort of bat it was, but my mother thought it was larger than the Pipstrelle's we used to see here.
Of course, it could partially explain why I didn't have too many moths in the trap this morning.
Greeted this morning by this wee red squirrel on the table outside the window. never seen one close up so fascinated by long claws and gnarled looking hands, the droopy nose and neat little teeth. It had a good feed despite the bowl being full of water - raining!
Standing in the garden as it was getting dark last night, a movement caught my eye. The sight's not what it was these days and rather than dazzle the culprit with a torch I used the camera. On the computer this slightly ghostly image appeared which I presume is a field mouse.
Red Deer rut in full swing now with much roaring. Most of the battles seem to have been done with a couple of stags with harems of c20 hinds, one stag with a solitary mate + many solo stags who seem to me losers in the mating game.
Another clue as to the time of year is the influx of people (mainly men) with long lens trying to catch the drama.
On Saturday afternoon I walked round part of the National Trust's Ashridge estate for a couple of hours. I do a similar walk there at this time of year almost every year, with the specific intention of seeing and (more importantly) hearing the Fallow Deer during the rutting season.
It wasn't too long before I'd seen five different groups of female deer (does), including this group that crossed a drive to a house:
A little further on I got to hear a buck roaring somewhere over to my left - such a wonderful Autumn sound! Then as I was walking along a path through bracken, a large buck suddenly stood up from the side of the path, about 60-70 yards ahead of me. I cautiously grabbed a couple of photos, then slowly backed off the way I'd come - I wasn't going to argue with him about my right of way along the path!
Another walk in the Chilterns for me today, about 8-miles from Cadmore End and through Ibstone and Turville. I heard Fallow bucks roaring at three different places, and had two sightings of Fallow does (about 20 in a field and three that went across a path in front of me). I also had two separate sightings of Muntjacs.