Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Monday 27th. October 2014

With October almost over , I made a visit to Knole Park at Sevenoaks to see if the deer had got into rutting mood . Arriving at the back of the park , I was surprised to find eight Sika Deer , feeding just inside the gate , two adult and a juvenile buck and five does . The dominant buck with a fine set of
antlers , keeping a sharp eye on the other two males , whilst the does continued to feed , and took
absolutely no notice of my presence . Every now and again , the second adult got a bit too close for
the dominant buck , and the was a bit of 'handbags' , nothing that could be described as rutting . To the left of the 'handbagging' pair is the juvenile buck with unbranched antlers . Apart from being darker in colour to the Fallow Deer , this species has a light roundel marking , just below the knee on the back legs , seen best on the female above . I next went to Echo Mount , the high point of the estate , where , before a massive cull a few years ago , most of the action took place . The dominant Fallow buck would hold the area under the Sweet Chestnut trees , tending to his harem , and surrounded by other bucks in pits outside the trees , hoping for a chance to mate with some of the
does . Today , a very sorry sight , a single buck , and not another animal to be seen . In total , I saw no more than 40/50 Fallow Deer on the visit , compared to the 500+ that used to roam the estate . The only other large buck seen was on the golf course , where , in a sheltered dell , he was chilling out
with some does and four juvenile bucks , until a new doe trotted in , when he got up to inspect the newcomer . Birds were few and far between , but whilst watching these deer , a single Fieldfare circled overhead a couple of times before flying on . The usual Jackdaws , Carrion Crows , RRParakeets , the odd Green Woodpecker and a few Goldfinch were the only other species seen / heard . The hoped for migrating Ring Ouzel failed to materialise .
Fungi did much better , with lots of Parasol Mushroom / Lepiota procera found in all stages of
development , ranging from 'lollipops' to 'dinner plates' , the latter with a 35mm. film canister for size
comparison . The open short grass of the golf course proved good for the colourful Wax Cap / Hygrocybe family . Those found were :
Blackening Wax Cap / H.nigrescens ,
Scarlet Hood / H.coccinea ,
H.ceracea ,
Snowy Wax Cap / H.nivea , and
Meadow Wax Cap / H.pratensis .
In the same area , a left-over from Summer in the form of Harebell / Campanula rotundifolia .
Back with the fungi , Hoof Fungus / Fomes fomentarius , of which there are some really large specimens on site ,
at the base of a Scots Pine , Cauliflower Fungus / Sparassis crispa ,
and finally one of the Slime Moulds , Fuligo septica .

3 comments:

Wilma said...

Nice deer and fungi! Love all the wax caps. They have such intense colors.

Phil said...

Shame about the lack of a rut again at Knole Greenie. Seems like a case of excessive management to me. A case of too many deer spoiling the golf maybe!

Linda said...

Beautiful series.