Searching for new fawns is harder than it sounds but the feeling you get when you do see one up close is quite amazing. All new life gives you that lovely feeling and brings a smile to most people's faces. Do you know does carry their young for eight months? That's nearly the same as us!
Each year, most of the female does will cross the River Avon to a part of the park which is off limits to visitors and also is part of the deer sanctuary. It is called Camp Ground and is a place the deer feel safe and will often go to if Charlecote becomes very busy. You can still see the deer from the Parterre and the main park area but they feel better as they have the river between you and them. These are not tame deer but free roaming so they can go anywhere within the park they want. Rivers do not stop them as they all can swim from just after they are born. If you watch carefully, you might see a fawn or two hopping about in the long grass on the other side of the river.
Here is one of the melanistic (Chocolate/black) fallow deer fawns. It was a nice find as these, along with the white fallow deer are rare but seems to be doing just fine at Charlecote Park.
It is so easy to walk straight past a new fawn and never know it as the mothers will give birth in the long grass or under trees in the even longer nettles. For some reason the nettles don't bother them.
Here is one from last year that was nearly missed hiding in the long grass.
This picture is of a common fallow deer fawn and one people think of when they picture the fallow deer. It is a chestnut brown with a spotted back.
There are still many heavily pregnant females about so I will bring you updates as and when I can.
While the does are busy giving birth on Camp Ground and in West Park, the older bucks are doing what they do best, taking it easy in the Main or Hill Park area.
Look at this buck just three weeks ago, you can just see a short stub growing out of his head and he still has a little of his winter coat which is all gone now.
As you can see their antlers are growing back nicely. The buck in the photo below has the largest set of antlers so far this year. I am guessing he was one of the first to shed his.
The buck in the middle of the next photo looks like he is laughing at me! Click on the picture to enlarge it. I love the colour of the bucks coats at this time of year but I love the size of them in autumn and how big and proud they stand. During the summer months they spend much of their time like this.
Here are a few of the views I really like at this time of year.
Isn't the grass a lovely colour at this time of year when the sun shines on it?
The view from Hill Park towards Hampton Lucy.
Another view from Hill Park over the lake with the Woodland Garden in the background.
Towards the Church. I love the colour of the trees with all their new leaves.
Charlecote House and the Woodland Garden in the background. Taken from the Meadow.
The beautiful buttercup meadow put on another glorious display this year.
The Meadow is doing really well and the plug plants are growing.
The view across the Lake from hill Park.
And down the River Dene across into West Park. A view all staff and volunteers are very familiar with as it is a view that greets us all as we enter Charlecote along the back drive.
Look at this amazing pattern on this old Oak.
The Deer Sanctuary which is off limits to visitors to allow the deer somewhere to go when the park is busy. It is somewhere the deer feel safe. Their 'time-out' place and we all need one of them from time to time. As you can't go there, I thought it would be nice to show you a couple of photos of the area and some of the wildlife that live there.
This view is across the River Avon towards Camp Ground.
There is a small family group of cattle living on Camp Ground at the moment.
Drinking from the River Avon.
This calf was only four days old when I took this photo. It was so cute!
Camp ground is a haven for all types of wildlife and is somewhere you can see lots of hares too, especially in March and April when they are above ground more in the mating season. You might even see them boxing! The river acts as a natural safe boundary for them so you are able to see them from the parterre or the cricket pitch. Being an undisturbed area of the park, the wildlife will come close to the river on Camp ground.
To the left of the next picture is the Heronry. On this part of the river too, lots of wildlife thrive because they are never disturbed except by the deer and other wildlife. On the right-hand side the Kingfishers nest year after year but these can be seen within the main park area flying just above the water from the meadow up in to West Park. We normally have two sets of Kingfishers within the park so they can be spotted from time to time.
These pictures below were taken within the sanctuary but the Herons can be seen fishing in Charlecote's Lake or on the River Dene as well as the River Avon which runs through the park. They can also be spotted high up in the trees on one of the islands within the lake.
The Deer sanctuary is not just an area for the deer to 'get away from it all' Many other wildlife nest in this area from Barn Owls and Kestrels to Geese and Swans looking for a quiet safe, undisturbed place to have their young. Animals need places like this sanctuary where they can go. It is very important to allow wildlife to flourish which reminds me..... If you see one of these beautiful creatures in the picture below on the floor close to a tree, please leave it alone unless it looks hurt. Tawny Owls will often venture outside their nesting box or tree cavity before they fledge. Sometimes they will be seen on the floor but they are very good climbers and will, if left alone, climb back up to their safe place where their parents will carry on feeding them and they will thrive. Tawny owlets, even at a young age can be seen high up in the trees, not because they can fly but because they climb. This is the time of year you might come across one on the ground. The best thing you can do to help it, is observe from a distance and if the owlet doesn't look hurt, leave well alone.
This week we have more new life in this area and it wasn't just the does giving birth. I had seen a Swan on it's own for a while within the sanctuary and as they pair for life, I was a little worried that it might have lost its mate but I shouldn't have worried, the female was just a little busy :) I saw the most beautiful sight, six newly hatched cygnets.
The family out for a swim on a lovely sunny day.
I watched as one of the cygnets climbed up onto it's mother's back for a rest. He wasn't the only one either. This reminds me of an old song. 'Wings of Love' It's like the cygnet is getting a hug :) I walked away very happy to have seen this.
Here is another of a cygnet resting its head on his mothers back!
Now it's a little like, 'all on board''
''Its mine''.......''No its mine!''
The geese are also doing well in this area ,growing nicely and turning greyer every day. You can see them floating up the River Avon in a long line all the way past the house. They are venturing further up the river every day.
Yesterday I also saw a nesting Mallard duck in the Garden Nursery. I think the duck got a little confused with which type of nursery it was! She is nesting inside a plant and at the moment she has six eggs! When I went the first time to have a look, she was just flying off but yesterday there she was keeping her eggs warm. It is very important not to disturb nesting birds so if you come across any like this one nesting in strange places, it is always best to leave well alone. I stood back and used my longer lens to take these shots not to disturb the duck.
The Sparrows and Housemartins are nesting everywhere around the house and outbuildings. They are very easy to see at the moment swooping around the paddock area in front of the Tea Garden and also on the Cricket Pitch.
Birds nest in the strangest places sometimes. A Blue Tit has found a temporary home inside one of the turrets. Sorry I couldn't help putting the 'S' on the Blue tit as it looked like Superman taking off :):)
Here it is breaking up a worm to feed to it's young chicks.
One of the little fledglings from this nest.
The growing Lambs.
The hoggs before their haircut!
I have to take my hat off to all those involved in the sheep shearing last week. It was such a hot day and they never stopped until they were all done! It's a lot harder work than in looks, especially with the warmer weather. I felt so guilty just stood watching with my camera and wished I could have helped in some way but I didn't have a clue what to do! I have to say though that I love watching all that goes on behind the scenes in Charlecote. I find it so interesting and I learn so much. I think of it as one of the many perks of volunteering there.
Here is a little look at the day of the sheep shearing.
Adam (Head Ranger) started his morning moving the sheep around to different enclosures so that they all went into the shearing section in the order he wanted them to.
Staff and volunteers shepherding the sheep through from one section to another. Some of the sheep will move easier than the others but the Jacob sheep are stubborn and they also have horns so this isn't always an easy job to do.
''Where is my coat?''
I think this one below is being a little cheeky!
After shearing, the fleece is then folded and put into special giant sacks which will then at a guess, go off to market for the best price.
The beautiful Fleece.
A quick look in on the pigs before heading home is always a must and it is easy to see that they are also doing very well and that they have grown so much!
I was going to include the garden in this blog but realised it would make it far too long so I will leave it there for now and write the gardens up in a separate blog.
A little extra for you. Another fawn spotted yesterday (18/6/2015) There are a few fawns about now but they don't stay still long enough for their photo to be taken, the rest were hiding.
Thanks for reading my blog, hope you enjoyed it.
Copyright Jana Eastwood