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Autumn Mornings

9th of November 2009

The only good thing about the shorter days is that I am up and about nearer to day-break and get a chance to see the animals that tend to hide in full daylight. I have had some nice sightings of Roe Deer in the last couple of weeks as they grazed on the stubble at first light. They usually see or smell me first but, on one occasion with the wind in the right direction, I was able to get quite close. I was surprised to see a male, with short pointed knobbly antlers, and a female. They usually rut, or mate, in July or August and then go their separate ways, but these were still together at the end of September. They are so elegant and graceful, all long neck and big ears. I love the way they run off in a sort of rocking motion, with their white tail patches all puffed out to warn of danger. Often they stop to see if you are after them and for a few seconds you get a nice view of them.

It is only in the last few years that they have been in the local woods; at one time they were extinct in England, but in 1800 they were re-introduced and now there are concerns that they are getting too numerous in some places. Deer in general are doing rather well at the moment and they can do a lot of damage to woodland. More people are being encouraged to take up stalking as deer have no natural predators, and road accidents involving deer are becoming more common. Venison is a very tasty meat, and very low in fat, cholesterol and calories, even better than skinned chicken apparently. I love to see them, but I would hate them to become to numerous and damage the woodland that provides a home for so many plants, birds and animals. A little bit of every thing is fine, but too many of any one thing is no good. As man has long since killed all the wolves in this country we are now the only top predators and have to keep natures balance for the good of all.

I have just thought of another good thing about the shorter days …. crumpets toasted on the fire for tea!

Wendy Bathurst

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