1st November 2014

If, like me, you are missing Autumnwatch I’m starting November where they left off, with our largest land mammal, Red Deer. Red Deer are thought to have migrated to Britain from Europe around 11,000 years ago. They were important for the Mesolithic population for food, skins for clothing, and bones and antlers for tools. The later Neolithic peoples cut down many woods, which caused a gradual reduction in the Red Deer

A family group of Red Deer, seen at Leighton Moss at dusk in August

A family group of Red Deer, seen at Leighton Moss at dusk in August

Young Red Deer male at Leighton Moss

Young Red Deer male at Leighton Moss

A Red Deer and Swan stand-off at Minsmere in Spring

A Red Deer and Swan stand-off at Minsmere in Spring

Not surprisingly, the Red Deer wins

Not surprisingly, the Red Deer wins

population, which was driven to marginal highlands, particularly Scotland. They have been gradually expanding their range again and here are some we watched at Leighton Moss and Minsmere, where Springwatch and Autumnwatch have followed them lately. They are increasingly being seen round Sheffield too, often at the Blacka Moor nature reserve near Totley. They are most active when it’s dark so the best chance to see them anywhere is dawn and dusk. They can be a problem when populations grow too dense, eating crops and young trees. Conditions: After the warmest Halloween on record, today is cooler and cloudier. Temperature: Max 14- Min 12C.

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