Thursday, 13 October 2011

Shake, Rattle and Roar!

 One of the most striking wildlife sights and sounds of autumn has to be the Deer Rut. Both Fallow Deer and Red Deer rut at this time of year, and although I have yet to experience the giant Red's, my local Fallow Deer certainly put on a good show!
I visited Petworth Park in West Sussex this week and the rut was in full swing, the unique grunting and groaning calls of the bucks filled the grassland where the deer had gathered, transporting the listener back thousands of years into the past; medieval adrenaline rising in the veins.
The mature bucks strut and prance, pawing the mud and thrashing their antlers against tree branches or grassy mounds. The gathered does, almost seem to ignore the boys showing off, quietly grazing with their almost fully grown youngsters nearby. Now and again the tension between the males reaches breaking point and the crashing of antler against antler reverberates between the trees.






October - Flower of the Month


Ivy
An important nectar source for insects in the late summer and early autumn

October


It has been strangely warm for this time of year; there has been mention of an Indian Summer. But I think that’s past now. The weather is still very mild though, mild and damp. Blue skies are still here but the grey clouds and drizzle are never far away, as if Autumn is here but Summer still feels a slight reluctance to let go and say goodbye until next year. The days a certainly shorter and the birch tree outside my window has lost all its leaves; golden triangles that swirled around the garden on each blustery gust.  A late Red Admiral butterfly came fluttering around the door yesterday, perhaps looking for a hibernation site. Perhaps he will join the wasps and hoverflies and other insects that throng around the ivy flowers on every hedge and garden shed, joining the glorious final feast of nectar before his long winter sleep. Between the hedgerows, out in the fields the farmers are busy with the harvest. Convoys of tractors with vast trailers of grain, maize, and silage, wind down narrow country roads from farmstead to field, whilst thoughts are turning to conker championships, pumpkins and Halloween, warm stews, toffee apples and glowing sunsets at the end of the day.