The deer have been keeping themselves to themselves, until this last week. The doe and the two fauns have been out of the Belt Wood in the early mornings on at least three occasions in the week. The two fauns are now well grown, probably about three-quarters of the size of the doe. Whether it is the same doe with the maternal instincts it is impossible to tell. The group which they have formed appears to be a strong one. They are watchful and seem to keep on the move to en extent. Grazing on the fallow and near the wood, they drift effortlessly through the hedge to Mr Crane’s meadows when there suspicions are aroused. It appears to me that one of the fauns is more heavily built than the other, perhaps a male, but they turn and I doubt my instincts.
Mid October Deer
Stubble field deer
The cereal fields are harvested and bare. The grassy field corners have been trimmed and the group of roe have largely retreated to the woods. Or at least that is what I expected. In fact the group continues to graze, at certain times, right out in the open.
Yesterday evening the buck, a doe and two fauns were grazing on green areas of the wheat stubble. In fact it was on the field that was crossed by the route of a roman road. They were spread out on either side of what must have been the verge of the road itself. They seem relatively unconcerned about our two whippets that were thankfully unaware whilst gorging on blackberries on the railway line path.
Deer in August
When does a group become a herd? The Brampton group of Roe Deer have had a successful year. Each of the two does is being trailed by a well grown faun. Including the buck that brings the group to five, which must in itself be almost a herd.
The behaviour of the individuals within the herd varies – there always seem to be one doe that looks after the two fauns, whilst the other wanders off in search of food on it’s own. It is not clear whether the wandering doe is always the same one or whether they take it in turns, no doubt some naturalist has studied this behaviour more closely than I have. But in August the regular sighting is a core herd of buck, a doe and two fauns with the other doe often being half a mile away or more.
August also saw the buck closely attending the does, often chasing them round in circles in a sort of Keystone Cops manner. Obviously with only one thing on his mind. There are circular pathway marks in the grass, clear evidence of his persistance. We will have to wait until the Spring to see how successful he has been.
No doubt, if either of the 2010 fauns are male they will be chased off the territory at some stage. A successful buck would not tolerate any rivals on his patch.
Deer in June
It was the ears that gave it away. Large and held at 45 degrees, clearly belonging to a Roe Doe as she stood motionless in the barley some thirty yards away. As we stood quietly watching the ears expanded into a watchful head with a nose taking in deep drafts of air. The lack of flight made us suspect that her fawn was hidden nearby, so we walked away and left her to it.
Every evening at dusk we have a good chance of glimpsing the members of this small Roe Deer group. Although they are gaining in confidence they usually wait until the last of the ramblers have retired before venturing out of the wood. The Roe buck, a three-pointer therefore likely to be three years old or more and two does – the does vary subtly, the larger having a rich tawny red coat and the smaller a drabber sandy brown.
Occasionally, these Roe Deer are quite vocal – their call reminds me of a small dog’s bark, a beagle perhaps. But this tends to be more common in the autumn. At this time of year in the warm June evenings there seems to be a rule if silence. So much so that if you take your eyes off them they can silently disappear. Indeed they really do seem to melt into air, into thin air.