Home

Magpie

November 6, 2010

A single Magpie takes up a sentinel like pose at the top of a Wild Cherry tree. The Cherry tree marks what we assume to be the on the edge of the old Roman shore. Before the Mill owners a and Dutch engineers contained of the Bure in it’s current course, this would have been the edge of marshy ground. The Magpie is surveying the country and from this position it cover a wide sweep of the Bure, grazing marshes, the village and the swell of rising ground towards Limekiln Farm. A rattling call sees it loop off in search of some unknown morsel.
The Roe Deer are conspicuous by their absence. An hour after dawn and there is no sign. Perhaps the declining feed value of the grass near the Belt Wood has made them concentrate on other sources. The only reports I have are of Muntjac skulking around the sugar beet at Oxnead.

Advertisements

An accidental death

October 23, 2010

The clear signs of a dead deer on the Oxnead road created a frisson of concern. Firstly the collision with a deer is not just a little accident in the car – Deer such as Muntjac weigh in at 30 lbs. or so, a Roebuck perhaps twice that; certainly enough to do considerable damage to both vehicle and beast. Once I had put these thoughts out of my head, I started to wonder. Was it one of the Roe fauns whose progress I had been following or was it perhaps a wandering Muntjac?

The only way to find out with any degree of certainty would be to do a head count. So on Friday morning at first light the dogs and I walked up to the Belt. The air was sharp with the first of this autumn’s frosts. It was relatively dark, the full moon was providing what help it could but still the gloom prevailed. I spotted a lone doe from the Buxton Road Bridge. This in itself was unusual. This doe was flighty. It seemed to be resting a back leg and I could have sworn that the off-side hind leg had a dark stain at the joint. It made its way quietly along the hedge line towards the wood, grazing at brief pauses as it went. My imagination started to run – perhaps this was the survivor of a road accident sustained by the group.

Something made me to walk on a little further. After about fifty yards I spotted another deer, this time to the south of the railway line. The wind was against me so I kept moving closer. As I got closer, I was relieved to spot a couple more deer in a close group. This was, without doubt, the Roe doe and the two fawns. Their coats were already a rich dark brown – the orange coats of summer already replaced and ready for the winter. Seemingly unconcerned they continued grazing, with only the movement of their large ears betraying the fact that they knew I was there. I turned and left them to it.