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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

21 January, 2014

They seek a deer here ...

... they seek a deer there. Those sika deer, are everywhere!
A visit to RSPB Arne at any time of the year will guarantee you good views of sika deer (Cervus nippon), there has been a herd there for many years although the numbers have been reduced in recent times. In the autumn your visit will often be accompanied by frequent groaning and wining noises. This is when the sika deer rut is under way and the stags are very vocal. Their aggressive behavior seems to be
confined to early morning but they can be very vocal throughout the day.
As its Latin name implies, this animal is a native of Japan. A number were brought to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour for 'show' in the late 19th century and, being competent waders and swimmers, they soon spread from the island and have now colonised much of the Purbeck area of Dorset. They are now so numerous they can be seen almost anywhere and at any time. They have become unpopular with farmers and conservationists alike as they eat almost anything!

Visitors to the RSPB reserve at Arne are often captivated by them; they are what they remember most as these deer are bold creatures, familiar with human presence and they prefer to stare you out rather than run away. It is sometimes hard for visitors to comprehend that these are actually wild creatures, not domestic animals.
They may be a problem, and I may have seen them a hundred or more times, but I still have to admire such a noble looking creature as this stag or the soft, gentle face of the doe.
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