27 Oct
2013
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A dearth of Red Deer

OK, so there was never a very high chance of successfully watching the Red Deer rut with a toddler in tow, but I decided that it was worth a try and we headed to Rackenford Moor to try our luck.

There have been thunderstorms this week and another one is threatening, now. Dark clouds bear down on us. I scan the bleak horizon for deer, but there are only cows and ponies to be seen. Izzy insists that I pass my heavy binoculars to her and peers at her own feet through them.

I happen across a large, distinctively patterned moth. I am not sure what it is, but thanks to the wonder of Twitter, I quickly learn that it is a Red Sword-grass.We stumble through the tussocky Purple Moor-grass and stamp through the muddy pools, occasionally passing a flowering Devil’s-bit Scabious, knowing that any deer will be long gone by now. There is no trace of them, anyway, no track or sign that they have been here recently.

Izzy is in her element and doesn’t want to leave, but with heavens about to open and the herd of Exmoor ponies approaching us at a gallop, it is time to retrace our steps and head home.

Checklist

Practicalities

We parked near the gateway to the reserve and wandered from there.

Other places to see the Red Deer rut (or not!)

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