I thought I would give a short description of one of the wonderful animals that we share the site with. The Fallow Deer that roam the woods and pasture that sweep through the Eland site are probably the most impressive animals living with us. A large animal standing at its largest at just over a metre at the shoulder, so a substantial presence on its own but as a group they are very impressive. Very shy and recessive they are typically seen in the distance where they move out onto pasture when they feel sufficiently confident, but they disappear very quickly when disturbed. They are very active at night and I am often reminded that although we think we control the land as we regard it during the day as the night descends and we go indoors, the creatures of the night take over and occupy that space. I’m often startled by the footprints of the deer right next to the house or next to the ménage, we have a strange view of what constitutes ownership.
Its normal to see evidence of their presence rather than the deer themselves, footprints in soft ground, evidence of feeding on trees etc or to see them at a distance which is a shame because these guys are the movie stars of the deer world, with looks to die for, lovely colouring, big eyes, a slightly elongated face, Bambi if you will! The typical colouration is a light fawn with lighter spots to the body but that is not a standard, they range from a lighter colour to almost black. They tend to wander as a herd until the rut in late October early November when the mature more dominant males start to establish a territory to attract females. We normally hear rather than see this process, the stags roar, a kind of developed belching sound that is very physically taxing so a great roar indicates a strong male, “hello girls!” As with most animals it’s best to use bravado rather than blood to establish your dominance but every now and again it comes to the real stuff.