Monday, 10 October 2016

Richmond Park Red & Fallow Deer

You may have seen or heard of the Fenton Youtube clip which sees a dog running amok amongst the deer, well that happened in Richmond Deer Park which I recently visited with my wife, and chose now because it is the deer rutting season. 

It proved easy to find and I'll try and highlight were my visit took me so that it can be a sort of reference. I drove through the park and saw Red Deer almost as soon as I turned in. I then parked up in the Roehampton Gate carpark to the East and four things stood out; it was also full of cyclists, we found parking space very easily at 8:45 on  a Saturday, it was a surprise to find that it was free and the Italian café there serves up real deal cafe lattés.


After a drink we headed out towards the centre and then had a rough route in mind to ultimately head for the view point in the South West. as we set off the loud and constant chatter of the Ring-necked Parakeets (page herebecame obvious and didn't really subside during our visit. They weren't the only birds but they were the most common, along with Jackdaws.


Our route took us past two large collections of deer to the West of where we parked with a couple of males on or around the rugby pitches...What happens if they won't move for a game?! 

Even in this most  open and public space there were stags doing some pretty impressive bellowing. Again, the white lines show that this is near the rugby pitches previously mentioned. I was of course keen to get some snaps but equally mindful that the testosterone levels around the park were high so I did keep a respectable distance.

Up to this point we'd only seen Reds but chanced upon a mixed herd just a short distance away, and if you look in the centre of the picture you can see two Fallow bucks locking antlers. This went on for some minutes but I wasn't sure of it wasn't younger ones posturing because when they stopped neither left the scene.


Whilst the antler locking was going on there were Red stags still bellowing and large Fallow bucks (as well as young and females) within the mixed herd. We soon had White Lodge on our left and reached the two ponds and the bellowing of the Reds was still very audible, as we reached another testosterone bellowoff.

This big boy...

Bellowed at this big boy...

Who then bellowed back...

And then, well you get the picture.

I got a short burst of the bellowing (albeit done in little bursts as opposed to one long one). You can hear the Parakeets in the tree tops on the audio.

We kind of made up our route after passing the Tercentenary Plantation car park, but not before seeing this male  Red catching lots of dead grass in it's antlers repeatedly, and then having a Jackdaw land on it's rump. 

 The most Parakeet action was roughly in the area around Prince Charles Spinney and Gibbet wood where they seemed at their most concentratedThis page details one individual that deftly removed and processed a Sweet Chestnut in front of us.


At several points there were tick warning posters and there was indeed a lot of bracken about with this batch rather trampled and I'm guessing a male has turfed the shredded stuff out onto the path with his antlers?

We had meandered where the mood took us and had gone the wrong side of the Isabella Plantation to reach the view point. We instead reached Broomfield Hill Wood car park, and after a quick drink at the café, decided to head back along the road to where our car was parked. As we set off we thought we'd seen a large deer lying down by the road...


Remember I started with the Fenton link? Despite lots of advisory posters we saw this dog chasing a Red Stag and several Hinds around. The sad thing is it then ran off and it went some way until it disappeared from view so goodness knows where the ineffectual owner was.

We were interested to see how full our carpark was at midday on a sunny Autumn morning, and to our surprise there were still around 20% of the spaces free which bodes well for a visit at most times. As I've mentioned a  lot of places this is a link to the park map options page.

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