After the rain.

We left home in heavy rain this morning and it looked like my walk into the New Forest may be a washout however the BBC weather forecast was correct and by 9.30 the sun was out and the Autumn colours were looking good.

Fallow Deer are the deer that most visitors to the New Forest see. Although not a native species, to the forest. The New Forest was William the Conqueror’s first hunting forest in England, and the hunting of fallow stags took place for over 900 years until it was outlawed in 1997.

I only saw one Stag but he was worth spotting and decided to sit down rather than move on!

Life passing the ditch.

Day and night wet or dry there is always someone crossing the ditch. Trail camera footage and stills from the film.

Roe Deer.

Lots of Robins pass the camera with their bright red breast you would think they would stand out but in the autumn leaves, they are quite camouflaged .

Cauliflower of the woods.

Cauliflower Fungus, Wood Cauliflower, and Brain Fungus are uncommon. the visible parts of this fungi above ground are fattened lobes in colour they can be light brown, buff to yellow/grey to creamy white. They have no gills, but this mushroom has tiny pores. It is found on conifer roots, especially pine. It is claimed they are good to eat.

Deer stalk

Today we decided to go on a deer stalk but very soon decided it might not be such a good day for it as they were cutting the bracken where we were walking. Studies have shown that management of bracken stands should be reduced because the excessive build-up of bracken litter causes a decline in species diversity leading to a negative impact on the conservation interest of the bracken-dominated habitats.

However walking deeper across the heath and in to small pockets of mature woodland we soon spotted a number of Fallow Deer. (Bucks)

At first the herd moved away but settled down and watched us trying to blend in with our environment.

Further on after seeing this young bucks we spotted a small herd of hinds slipping away into deep woodland.

With the moon out.

With our continued hot dry spell we decided to make an early start on Sunday morning to collect our trail camera footage. On the way, with the sun just up we spotted a good number of different mammals.

Rabbits.

Roebuck. This deer is the regularly spotted buck in our local fields and woodland.

A Shrew. This tiny mammal crossed our path, while we crossed the field. I think this is a Common Shrew.

Common shrews are tricoloured: brown on the back, pale brown at the sides and whitish underneath. They have dense velvety fur, with a long pointed nose, tiny eyes, small ears and red teeth. Their lifespan is short they rarely live longer than a year.

Size: 48-80mm, tail 24-44mm; tail less than 3/4 length of head and body.

Weight: 5-14g.

A bit shaky but a short film of this tiny mammal.

We spotted a fox on several occasions during our walk but he kept his distance.

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Dry spell.

Water remains short in our local patch due to the drought grass is brown and many of the water holes and ditches have dried up boggy areas are much dryer than this time last year. One advantage appears to be the lack of Ticks as I have only had one or two on me this year whereas last year I was getting those numbers per day!

The lack of water for the wildlife got us thinking about using water as a way to attract animals to our trail cameras. Last week we sunk a washing-up bowl in a local ditch where we had placed cameras in the past and filled it with water. In 2021 our trail cameras at this spot had filmed a Buzzard bathing in the ditch. It worked – see footage below it starts with 2021 Buzzards bath and moves on to last weeks recording at the same spot with a dry ditch.

Moorland wanders.

A Moorland walk in the New Forest this morning.

Common cotton grass has fluffy, white seed heads that dot boggy moorlands and heaths its bright heads show up across the landscape which looks like something has been dropped until you get close enough to see it is a seedhead. Despite its name, common cotton grass is a member of the sedge family, rather than being a true grass.

In the winter we came across a small pond on the moor and decided to return in the summer as it

looked like a good site for Dragonflies, we returned today and it was.

Female Broad-bodied Chaser.

Male Broad-bodied Chaser.

Male Emperor Dragonfly.

Female Emperor Dragonfly. Egg-laying.

A Male Stonechat keeping its distance from the pond.

Foxgloves are now in full flower.

Fallow Deer are never far away on a New Forest walk.