Thursday, 12 November 2015

More Deer Antics around Wollaton

This morning around Wollaton has certainly shown that the groups are anything but peaceful. The young males are trying their luck with the big guns, the females are undecided on which buck to join, and the golfers aren't too happy either!

Yesterday morning was incredibly grey, and one of our biggest and oldest males had certainly had a rough time. As the first individual I found that day, whom I affectionately named Odin, looked really quite sorry for himself. This great old man lay in front of the hall, with a recent injury to his eye, muddy turf on his antlers, and a general moth-eaten look about him. The clue stood to who may have caused this trauma in the next field, in the form of an even bigger and bolder male. 

I remained quite a distance from this next male I encountered, as he really did look like he was up for a fight. After leaving these two tired fellas, I took a stroll to the lake, and wandered back towards the golf course to find what I had really been looking for - a the males and their ladies!

It took me quite by surprise to see such a small male with a poor excuse for a pair of antlers, one of which had been broken in half, with four ladies under his command! I recognised him from a few days ago, belonging to the all male group on the golf hill. The ladies tottered around the golf course with him nonetheless and I presumed there must have been something quite attractive about him that I was missing. Shortly after, I realised what this young bucks game was. 
It soon became apparent that the largest male of that all male group had was in charge of quite a substantial lek, and the young buck had perhaps just been lucky enough to lure a few ladies away with him. This larger lek was also under the protection of the larger broken horned male from that same male group. 
It was highly entertaining observing large broken horn make desperate attempts to mate a few of the ladies - they were having none of it. After a few failed attempts at attracting if not chasing the ladies into a mating, the big man decided it was enough and gently ushered him away.

Sadly my morning was cut short when I was informed to buggar off the golf course. I must add here that we are not allowed on the course, and that the deer can be safely observed out the way of the golfers on their morning jaunt. It would seem they are more dangerous than the deer...

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

It could not be a better time to see the Red deer rutting in Wollaton Park!

The days are drawing in, the wind is getting cold and air remaining damp, but watching the deer going about their day provides a warm smile to anyone's face in Wollaton park, Nottingham. It seems strange that right next to a city is the perfect place to see a thriving Red deer population. This deer park however has one of the largest groups known in Nottinghamshire, and being so tame, you are able to get some fantastic views at this time of year. 
Something quite unique about the deer on this park is the fact that they happily graze and go about their daily business on a golf course. Having people around all day means that the deer are not phased in the slightest by any photographers, or general public wishing to peer in on their daily life. Wollaton hall is an estate known for its natural history and with this, the golfers know that one of their tasks on the 18 holes is to get a birdie and not a red deer at the same time!

If one wishes to not just see the deer grazing peacefully on the greens, but to catch some fighting action, it is highly recommended to visit early in the morning to catch the ruts. The mornings are getting darker, so you do not have to get up until around half past 6 in the morning if the crack of dawn doesn't seem too much of a challenge. However horrible the idea sounds when you are tucked in bed, I can promise you that it will be worth every wink missed.

The males are becoming quite territorial at the moment, so it is important to respect their space, but this behavior provides the perfect opportunity to observe the hierarchy operating within the group. In particular, it was brilliant to see one large group of females protected by the largest male within sight forming his harem. On the nearest hill 50 yards to the left of me, a group of younger males lay, ruminating and presumably saving their energy to perhaps sneak a mating in while the dominant male was off gaurd. It was so exciting to be able to see the social structure of these groups, and to think who may be playing which tactic to father the next generation
I urge anybody around this area to pay the red deer of Wollaton park a visit. It is a glowing gem within the bustling city life, and every time I go I wonder why it has been so long since the last visit.