Sunday, 24 June 2012

A pleasant find

Bouncing around in what only could be described as being in the middle of no where Shep stumbled upon something. By bouncing around I would like to add I was riding a quad bike on overgrown, rough, un grazed moorland, I wasn't actually physically bouncing around like a chimpanzee, although it is fair to say I have been known to do such things, just not on this particular occasion.

There I was, out in the middle of no where on a quest - trying to track down some wayward sheep, when I spotted a deer. Nowt unusual with that, there are roe deer a plenty in the Tarset valley and many to be seen on this particular hill ground which is surrounded by forestry.

This deer acted in a different fashion to many which you stumble upon. Usually a deer takes flight, all you see is the white rump disappearing into the distance. This one behaved in a totally different manner.

I would easily be 100 yards off it when it just seemed to spring up from nowhere, initially I thought little of the fact, just another deer. Until......... it only ran a few yards before stopping and heading back to the spot it had sprung from. As I was still bouncing along on the quad it then ran away further, but hesitated, stopped, looked back before disappearing over the edge of the hillside. Strange behaviour.

Now if that deer had been a sheep I would have guessed it had a lamb lying back there somewhere, why else would it hesitate and head back before running further away?

I looked across to the spot where I had first been aware of the deer and thought I could see something moving. Time to stop the bike and go and investigate I thought.

All movement had ceased as I slowly and quietly walked towards the spot, just over the edge of the hill I could hear a deer barking, she had definitely left something behind.
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And sure enough, I wasn't disappointed, as tucked away in the long, overgrown heather was her fawn. A roe deer fawn. Acting dead. Squatting down, lying flat, pretending it wasn't there. Take flight and the hunter might hunt, lie and act dead and all may be well. It had been well taught for it's tender youth.
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Moss lay away back next to the bike, curious as to what I was up to but wiser than to disobey his orders, he remained alert, waiting to be called, although that wasn't going to happen.
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I took these photographs as quickly as I could, the photographer in me wanting to remove annoying foliage to enable a better shot, the shepherd in me telling me not to loiter, leave well alone and move on as quickly as possible. The doe was still calling, although out of sight she wasn't far away and so I retraced my steps, mounted the trusty stead and bounced off leaving mother and offspring to be reunited.

It is hard to believe, that this is Sheps first ever encounter with a roe deer fawn, I have seen many youngsters trotting alongside their mothers but never come across a little chap of just a few days old. It doesn't take much to cheer one up and this was one of those little things which puts a day on a high, all that bouncing about on the 18th June was well worth it!