Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

While we were walking the dog yesterday in our local forest, we came across a pack of 'Brownies' (the girl scout variety, not the chocolate version). They were walking in a long crocodile and making loads of noise.

When I led school groups on forest hikes, there were times when we all walked as close to silent as we could get, to see what we could see. Often this meant that we would see far more wildlife than if we were walking normally. I say normally because it's actually very difficult to walk silently if there are twenty of you and most are under sixteen! Anyway I digress.

As the brownies approached I saw just off the path less than 50 metres away a young female roe deer. She was in the open and standing stock still watching the brownies approach, I don't think she'd seen us. Quickly I clipped the dog back on his lead (he doesn't tend to chase deer but I didn't want to take a chance). As the brownies drew level with us I put a finger to my lips and pointed, heads swivelled as slowly one at a time mouths fell open in amazement. Magical.

The deer stood for a while and then eventually turned and walked back under cover.

Later that evening I had a second close encounter. I was sitting in our conservatory looking out at the garden, when a large shadow came overhead. Surprised I looked up to see a heron landing on our garage roof. Now he's probably the one who's been killing the fish in our pond, but nevertheless I wanted to get a picture. I didn't manage it, he flew off (fish-less, I hasten to add), before I could get the camera organised.