Red Deer Rut (or nearly) at Studley Royal.

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Red Deer and Autumn Colour.
Up early at 5.00 am this morning. On venturing outside it was the most wonderful starlit night with an fine crescent moon. It was also the first frost of the year although I was informed by Roger, who lives on the edge of the Wolds, that they had already had several. I picked Roger up at 7.00 and Dave soon after. We arrived at Studley Royal, next door to Fountains Abbey, by 9.30 and were soon seeking our quarry. We didn't have to search for long; we soon found a mixed group of hinds and stags. It soon became obvious that one stag, sporting a fine head of antlers, was the dominant male and he kept the hinds in a group around him. Nearby was a separate group of adult and immature stags, waiting their turn. Throughout the park were other groups with a similar make up. The dominant stag was obviously ready for mating and strutted and postured by roaring with a deep, far-carrying bellow and thrashing his antlers in the grass as well as sniffing the scent of the hinds and spraying to proclaim his ownership. All very testosterone laden. Later in the day this group came in contact with another and the second dominant male saw off our first who sloped off leaving the second in charge of all the hinds. I am sure battle will be done in days to come. The immature and secondary stags kept to themselves lazing and watching proceedings with interest.
There are also sika and fallow deer in the park and towards the end of our day we caught up with a mixed herd of both. I was particularly impressed with the sika; the stags, although smaller than the reds, being particularly handsome.

All in all, another fine day, although another expedition may be in order to catch the rut in full swing.