Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Little Owl Spotted!

Mid afternoon on Saturday, Gary and I were on our way out of the park to carry out some boundary repairs. As we drove out of the gate at West Park drive and up towards Shrigley road, we suddenly spotted one of these little beauties perched on a fence post!

Little Owl - Athene noctua
It stayed there long enough for us to snap this picture before it took off across the field below. John has previously recorded Little Owls here at Lyme so it’s refreshing to know that they are still around and enjoying the surrounding farmland.

Take a look at John’s previous post on Little Owls for more information on these cute and compact little characters and let us know if you’ve spotted one this year at Lyme by dropping us an email or by commenting on this post.


Monday, 23 June 2014

New Arrivals at Lyme

If you find yourself out and about in the park or up on the moor at Lyme over the next few months, then you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of our new arrivals. It is now the time of year for our red and fallow deer to be giving birth!

A newborn fallow deer fawn closely followed by its mother in our fallow deer sanctuary.

Both deer species will usually produce a single offspring, known as a ‘fawn’ if it’s a fallow or a ‘calf’ if it’s a red. Shortly before giving birth, the pregnant hind (red) or doe (fallow) will seek an isolated spot, a short distance away from the rest of the herd. Once born, with a little bit of gentle encouragement from mum, the calf or fawn will be quick to find its feet and start suckling. The young of both species are born with a spotted coat and when lying motionless in tall grass it creates excellent camouflage. This adaptation enables them to remain concealed from potential predators while their mother is away feeding.

A hungry red deer calf leans in towards its mother to feed. 
Note its prominent white spots which will disappear with its first moult.

Within the first few weeks mum will also ensure its young remains scentless and undetectable through regular cleaning. A routine which includes… yes you guessed it… Eating poo! Nice. Seriously though, this careful attention can make the difference between life and death for these newborns.

One of our newborn red deer calves receiving a thorough hygiene check.

If you are fortunate enough to spot a fawn or calf, please ensure that you keep a suitable distance and that dogs are kept on a lead if you are walking through the fallow deer sanctuary or in areas of the park where the deer are prevalent. Getting too close will make them feel vulnerable and stressed, particularly at such a young and sensitive age.

To find out more about red and fallow or any of the other four species of deer found in Britain, take a look at the British Deer Society website where you can also download some fantastic information sheets: