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.