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March

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It is the beginning of March, and Spring is on the way. The lapwings provide moments of distraction for the deer on the grassy moorland as the male birds wheel around close to the ground in their eye catching display flights.



Not every deer is interested though, but the male lapwings are not bothered, hoping instead that female lapwings looking on are impressed. The deer may look briefly, wondering what is going on, or if there is a threat, but will soon return to grazing.



Travelling through the rich straw coloured moorland grass to find new grazing. The grass can grow surprisingly high, forming large clumps making the ground uneven underfoot. The deer will naturally follow each other across the landscape as they make their way through the grass and other flora, creating distinct paths.



A small group of deer stop to look for danger, with two hinds flanking a smaller calf, as if to protect it from any danger nearby. Hinds are very protective of their calves, at least for the first yea…

February

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It is now February, and as you can see the snow has gone, and we are getting some nice sunny weather. It is feeling quite warm in the sun already, even through it is still winter. The heather and grass on the moorland sustains us throughout the year, and there is plenty to go round. There are no sheep up here, and no cattle as yet, although highland longhorn cattle have made some appearances in recent years, so what there is to eat is at present all ours!



Here a mother and calf are relaxing under a tree, basking in the February sunshine. It is quite warm for February at the moment. If you look closely, you might be able to see atmospheric disturbances in the background due to the heat rising off the ground as it is heated by the sun.



It is not always relaxing up on the moor though. In this sequence, a small group of hinds and this years calves are alert and looking for danger. With ears pricked, and some slightly back indicating concern, they are looking around the local environment …

January

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This moorland near Sheffield, England is my home for part of the year. Through Autumn and Winter we stags come to the home ranges of the hinds to strut our stuff, at times doing battle for the crown of king stag of this part of the world. Sometimes though January can be a lonely time for a stag who is unsuccessful in the rut. At least there is plenty of heather to eat, although it is cold on the tongue in weather like this.



I am keeping busy teaching these youngsters how to survive on the moorland. We are no longer welcome with the main herd, as they have begun plans for new arrivals later this year. I'm not going near those hinds whilst the big stag is around - have you seen the size of his antlers? He must have sixteen tines! Less monarch of the glen, more monarch of moor...




Although there is plenty of heather to eat, finding a good patch often involves wandering around a lot. Here is a nice patch to nibble on, but I must find somewhere more sheltered to rest and chew the cud. If …