Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Gaze in awe at reds’ rut

Red deer Red deer © Jon Hawkins

The autumn is mating season for our largest land mammal, the red deer.

Early morning is a great time. The low, golden light and cold, dewy air creates the perfect autumnal atmosphere

The main event of the red deer year is the annual rut.  Having spent the rest of the year quietly going about their business in single sex herds, autumn sees the dominant males rounding up his harem of females.  

Younger males, and indeed many of the females, have other ideas, and the result is one of the most dramatic events in the wildlife calendar.

Stags let out great moaning, belching roars as the dominant male does his best to defend his hinds from the young pretenders, strutting back and forth tossing his antlers in an act of showmanship.  For those who aren’t intimidated by his bellowing and bravado, a battle ensues.  Stags clash by linking antlers and shoving each other.  It may look dramatic, but this is mostly for show, a ritualised fight with the aim of settling the dispute and sorting out who’s boss, rather than causing any actual damage.  

The roaring and bellowing of our largest land mammal leaves a lasting impression.

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… There is a great clip of the red deer rut on the BBC Autumnwatch website and you can download a red deer ringtone from our Wildlife Watch website. Londoners are lucky to have red deer roaming Richmond Park – coming across a well-camourflaged herd amid the bracken on a misty morning while the rest of the capital is stuck in rush-hour is a heart-warming sight. But beware - keep your distance!

Special spots

The nature reserve at Blacka Moor  in Sheffield is a stunning mosaic of habitats home to many marvellous species.  Probably the most loved and photographed are the red deer that roam the reserve - sometimes secretive, sometimes surprisingly and delightfully bold.  If you visit in the autumn during rutting season you may well hear their mating calls bellowing out across the woods and moorlands or even catch a glimpse of the majestic stags as they battle each other for supremacy.

Derbyshire, Hillbridge and Park Wood

Devon, Rackenford and Knowstone Moor

Highlands, Ben Mor Coigach

Highlands, Rahoy Hills

Red deer © Jon Hawkins

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