Waiting in the mist

In certain places the ‘roar’ of one of the Low Countries largest land mammal can be heard again. The impressive figure of a stag complete with a full ‘rack’ of antlers conjures up images of the Scottish highlands where the species is most abundant, but the Veluwe may also be very proud to have large families on its grounds.

The noise of the stags, which are much more vocal during this time, indicate that we may face Autumn. For them the rutting season makes them gathering females for their harems, and will produce loud guttural roars and barks. Roaring, acting as a declaration of size and strength, a challenge to potential competition, or a way of reaffirming status after a victorious fight. Good that they are protected in certain parks, but in the other places it is just their noise which brings the hunters to them in this pairing-time. It is now the ideal mating-season, taking care the young will be brought onto the world in June when most food and the best conditions to grow up are available.
We can only hope people take care they are protected enough to come through Winter.


Find also to read:

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

  • Emperor stag killed: red deer stag facts (telegraph.co.uk)
    Native stock is common in the Scottish Highlands, Dumfriesshire, Lake District, East Anglia and the south-west of England. Feral stock is present in the north of England, north Midlands, East Anglia, the New Forest and Sussex.
    The males are typically 175 – 230cm long (tail adds 12 – 19cm), with a height 107-137cm at shoulder and weigh 60 – 190kgDeer are different from other ruminants in that the males have a set of antlers which are regrown every summer, rather than permanent horns on the head.

    Antlers have up to 16 points, which are made of bone, covered in ‘velvet’ and can grow 2.5cm a day

    European antlers are straighter, with the fourth and fifth tines forming a crown in larger males

    A stag that has antlers with no tines is known as a switch. A stag with no antlers is a hummel

    Antlers are testosterone driven and as the stag’s testosterone levels drop in the autumn, the velvet is shed and the antlers stop growing

    Peak mating age is eight years old and dominant stags may have a harem of 20 hinds

    During the rut, stags have a distinctive roar-like sound to keep the harem together.

    Females are often attracted to the stag with the loudest roar.

  • Watch: Rutting season in Lyme Park near Stockport (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
    ‘Fights between stags can be a shoving match – with each stag trying to gain the advantage by being uphill’
    +“October is the most exciting time of year to watch deer as they engage in fierce mating battles.

    “Rutting activity is most intense soon after dawn, although some activity occurs throughout the day.

    “Female deer are only fertile for around a day during the year so competition to mate with them is fierce.

  • An early Autumn walk in Richmond Park (lacer.wordpress.com)
    My local council is conducting an experiment where they’re letting a number of small patches of land across the borough turn into little, very mini, wild meadows. I see the one nearest me when I go by on the bus, it was looking glorious all summer and then started to look distinctly ropey but in the past week it’s bloomed back into life again, I guess as the long grass starts to die back it allows the Autumn blooming specialists to take over.
  • Dog owners told to avoid Richmond Park and Bushy Park during rutting season (standard.co.uk)

    Dog owners are being told to avoid Richmond and Bushy Parks during the deer rutting season.

    In October and November the red stags and fallow bucks compete for females by roaring, barking and clashing antlers with each other.

    But the animals can also see dogs as a threat and have been known to charge at them, as well as their owners.

    Royal Parks experts said the presence of dogs may disrupt breeding patterns, impacting on the behaviour of the wild animals during the birthing season.

  • Sketch of the Day: Red Deer in Rut (drawingthemotmot.wordpress.com)
    Winds whipped through the Deer Park in Klampenborg today, blowing leaves off branches just when they’d gotten some autumn reds and golds.
  • Roar of the rutting stag: why men have deep voices (theguardian.com)
    From Richmond Park to the Isle of Rum, red deer hinds will be gathering, and the stags that have spent the past 10 months minding their own business in bachelor groups are back in town, with one thing on their minds. A mature male that has netted himself a harem is very dedicated. He practically stops eating, focusing instead on keeping his hinds near and his competitors at bay. If you’re a red deer stag, one of the ways you make sure that your adversaries know you mean business – and that you’re big – is roaring. And you don’t let up. You can keep roaring all day, and through the night too, twice a minute, if necessary.
    The low voice of men, like stags, is a trait that probably evolved through sexual selection. This isn’t just about being attractive to the opposite sex, it’s also about beating same-sex rivals. A deep voice may prove an advantage in both cases, helping a man to exclude other, apparently less dominant men, from the mating game, as well as making him more attractive to the opposite sex. A win-win situation. Unless, of course, you’re a well-built man with a mellifluous tenor voice, who’s bucked the trend, or a woman who prefers Justin Timberlake or John Lennon to Jim Morrison or Eddie Vedder. This is biology, after all – variability is what makes it so interesting.
  • Country diary: Glen Strathfarrar: In a profound Highlands silence there came a guttural roar (guardian.co.uk)
    Along the river Farrar were the scattered juniper bushes, though perhaps trees would have been a better word. They were columnar rather than prostrate and were that dark green that looks almost forbidding as only these very old trees can. Other impressive trees were nearby, the small stand of aspen whose leaves were changing from their pale summer green to the yellows of autumn.In contrast, their silver bark was well marked with black diamond shapes that looked almost unreal. But there was something missing and it suddenly dawned on me – the aspen leaves were not trembling. The extremely flattened leaf stalks means that even in the slightest of breezes the leaves will shake. Well might the Latin name be Populus tremula.
  • Beautiful Photos of London’s Richmond Park on First Day of Autumn (ibtimes.co.uk)
    Rob Stothard captured these lovely photos of a misty Richmond Park in southwest London as the annual deer rut (breeding season) begins.The park is home to around 345 red deer and 315 fallow deer. The deer rut takes place in autumn. The red stags and fallow bucks compete for females (known as hinds and does respectively) with a clashing of antlers. The males also decorate their antlers with ferns and roar and bark in a bid to attract females.
  • Stag mating call mimic contest held (bbc.co.uk)

    A competition to find out who can best mimic the mating call of a stag has taken place on Exmoor.

    The event for the sport known as bolving started 10 years ago and organisers said competitors took it “very seriously”.

    The challenge for the participants imitating the low bellowing sound of the red deer is for a real stag to answer their call.

    This year 45 people took part in the event held near Dulverton, Somerset.

    Exmoor National Park ranger and former competition winner Richard Eales organised the 10th annual championship.

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One response to “Waiting in the mist

  1. Pingback: Autumn Verses | From guestwriters

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