across a pack of 'Brownies' (the girl scout variety, not the chocolate
version). They were walking in a long crocodile and making loads of
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
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