Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Sika here, Sika there.....

An early start this morning & a 11/2 hour drive found me at the RSPB reserve at Arne in Dorset. The reason for going? The rutt of the Sika deer (Cervus nippon). Sika deer were introduced to the UK from Asia during the mid 19th century. Initially confined to parks, individuals managed to escape over the years so that there are now established populations within the British countryside. Often confused with fallow deer, this species possesses a much richer coat spotted with white during the summer months.
Parking on the side of the road beside the car park (they dont get up as early as me in Dorset, the gates were locked!), I soon heard the unearthly whistling (more squealing) call of the Sika stag. If you have never heard this noise, then you could be forgiven for thinking that someone is being murdered!
Following the squeals along a path, i soon found the first deer, a hind, then further along, a few more. Then the first stag of the day.
It ended up that you could not walk around the reserve without litterally bumping into deer. They are everywhere. At one junction in the track i stopped to check my route map, when a young stag decided to check me out. He was only a few meters away when i turned around & saw him. I froze, he ran.

 And to finish with an opportunistic Dartford warbler..........

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Crake at Greylake

For the second year on the trot, a Spotted crake has taken up residence at Greylake RSPB reserve. Although not nearly as easy to see or photograph as last years, it still thrilled the watching birders & photographers in the hide. Luckily i had only been there about 10 mins before i seen it skulking along the base of the reeds on the right hand side of the pool beside the hide. It showed on & off for the next hour at least, letting most people get a view.
I managed a couple of record shots during this time.
Also of interest were a pair of Kestrels that were continually about. This immature male posed beautifully on a nearby tussock in the autumn afternoon sunlight.

 Teal are also turning up now, some didnt leave. This drake is still a little scruffy looking having not completely moulted from his eclipse plumage.