Saturday, 25 October 2014

Killarney Deer Rut

The group spread out observing a red deer stag.

The outing was led by Chris Barron a Field Studies Co-ordinator with the Killarney National Park Education Centre which is located in the Demesne. With an early start the group took a circular route around the demesne, allowing observation the deer in a number of settings; from open areas to woodland.

Close up of the Stag

The Red deer failed to disappoint throughout the morning, but sometimes would have to wonder were they observing us rather than vice versa

Communal Wallow area

As well as seeing the deer themselves, we also saw some of the obvious markers for the deer herd. The first of thesewas a well used wallow site. This is an area where the deer bathe and roll in the mud and can often be seen caked in mud after a good wallow.

Damage to tree from cleaning of antlers and from eating bark
Damage to trees is another clear sign, with Chris showing the markings left on the wood where a stag had been cleaning its antlers against the exposed hardwood.

Herd in cover

Along with the deer, there was a wide array of wildlife to be discovered on the day, a viewing of a badger set, some glimpses of red squirrels in the canopy feasting on horse chestnuts. The bounty of the chestnuts (sweet chestnuts as well as horsechestnuts) was not lost on the rooks either, with a individual seen planting (or stashing) a chestnut for the winter ahead. Also a fleeting glimpse of a dipper.

Horsechestnut, where a red squirrel was seen.

Sweet chestnut
About to stash (plant) a chestnut

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