Celebrating the Wild Side of Yorkshire’s Coast & Country: In the Bleak Midwinter

Celebrating the Wild Side of Yorkshire’s Coast & Country:
In the Bleak Midwinter

Father Christmas and reindeer copy

If you spot any Reindeer over Christmas then we would like your records for the regional Deer Surveys (see http://www.ukeconet.org), or just send them into me c/o ‘On the Wild Side’, the Sheffield Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1. Well really what we want are Red Deer records! Incidentally the rutting season for the Red Deer is over but you might hear Roe or Muntjac barking in the late evening; let us know that too.

We did have queries about safety and the wild Red Deer on the moors west of Sheffield. My advice was Red Deer were very safe and will avoid you, but as a large mammal, the male with big antlers, then ‘respect is due’!! However, I have an update. A number of correspondents have mentioned the rutting stags appearing to take ‘an interest in them’ and even ‘follow them down the path’. OK, so a footnote to my advice and especially for the fairer sex……… Red Deer stags when rutting may take an interest in female pheromones ……… so you have been warned for next year!

There are plenty of enjoyable wildlife activities to do over the Christmas break, though what is most productive in terms of sightings, depends on the weather. With Bitterns back in numbers as wintering birds at the fantastic nature reserves like Potteric Carr Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve near Doncaster, Old Moor, RSPB in Barnsley, or Rother Valley close to Sheffield, are all worth a look. They are showing well, so if you fancy a post-Christmas walk with good bird-watching and there’s a cold snap then it is ideal for Bitterns and the otherwise elusive Water Rail too. Both Snipe and Jack Snipe have been around as well, so maybe try Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Woodhouse Washlands Nature Reserve in Sheffield. Also, the Parakeets are still around so watch out – up to 20 seen around Dronfield.

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