As well as the birds at RSPB Arne, we were treated to very close views of Sika deer and more distant views of a herd of Roe deer.
The Sika were sporting their winter coats of dark grey so the spots you would be able to see in summer were not visible. These are not native deer – they were introduced from Asia in 1860 but some have since escaped and there is now a sizable wild population.
Arne must be like heaven to the Sika, as they love coniferous forests and heathlands, where they graze on heather, grasses and small shrubs.
Although October and November are the traditional months for the rut, we didn’t hear any of the usual male groans, whistles or yak-yak barks, though we did hear an alarming whining noise at one stage when a female was calling to her calf.
A small herd of six Roe deer were in a neighbouring field as we walked along one of Arne’s many trails. None of these deer had antlers, so I assume they were all females and juveniles.
Roe deer are native to Britain and, though they were once hunted to extinction in England, they survived in Scotland and have since been re-introduced across the border so are now abundant in much of England and Scotland, with a small population in Wales.