Deer Diary

After seeing two species of bats on Sunday, I’m feeling sorely tempted to have a go at seeing 40 species of mammals in Dorset this year, just for fun. Today I took a quick lunchbreak and drove towards Blandford, where a large field close to Tarrant

Roe Deer (Dominic Couzens)

Roe Deer, Tarrant Keyneston, Dorset, 17/1/2013 (Dominic Couzens)

Keyneston looked suitable for Brown Hares. The hunch was right, and I soon spotted two animals keeping very low and statuesque in a field of winter wheat. It’s extraordinary that they don’t live in burrows, but simply hunker down into vegetation or make a scrape (“form”) for shelter and rely on their speed to escape from predators. If a fox shows up, they simply get up on their hind legs, as if assuming a “ready, steady, go” posture to show the predator that they are alert and too fast to chase.

Apart from the Hares, a small group of Roe Deer does appeared on the horizon (above). With the 2 bats, plus Red Fox, Rabbit and Grey Squirrel close to home in 2013, that’s SEVEN species so far.


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