Saturday, 19 August 2017

Just Perfect

Those people who love to see our native deer can't wish for a better place to see them in natural surroundings than at Blacka Moor.

There's no shortage of managed deer parks often attached to stately homes where deer are semi domesticated. It's quite possible to see stags lying at the side of a road in such places as Hampton Court in London. They are of course fed in winter. To hear people talk of these animals as 'wild' is a travesty. Far away to the north of the comfortable surroundings of the home counties are the Scottish highlands. Many people see the deer on those mountains as being in natural surroundings. In fact they are just as managed, being kept in an artificially high numbers to serve the shooting industry. this results in an overgrazed landscape almost devoid of trees. It's possible to see deer in absurdly large herds; at that level numbers destroy the natural ecology and lacks visual appeal.

Our good fortune at Blacka has led to us seeing deer just occasionally perhaps and in small numbers. Any talk of 'damage' is nonsense when put alongside the impact of farm animals. And we just need to see them to know that this is how we should experience wildlife. The beauty can stop you short.

The spots on the back of the young deer have faded and are now barely visible even to those who can get close up. But the intense affection of the hind remains, the calf sometimes backing away from the nuzzling. This scene needs the trees and scrubby surroundings yet it's comparatively rare to see photos like this. Like the deer themselves the vegetation has not been managed. This is as close to  real experience of wild nature as we are lucky enough to get.

Our young Orphean lyre stag is not far from the hind and calf.

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