Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Well I wasn’t expecting that!

The safari had a quick peek over the sea wall this morning. The tide was well out and there was just the usual combo of gulls on the beach dossing around. Black Headed, Herring, and Lesser Black Backed…a Sandwich Tern called in the distance and looking up I spotted the head of a Grey Seal peering out from behind the surf. Scanning for the tern revealed another Grey Seal ‘bottling’ a bit further to the south. As a small flock of Oystercatchers flew down the beach I followed them with the bins looking for a Sanderling or two. But the scan revealed a body…It was difficult to identify it at range, but at least it wasn’t a human…have seen one of those floating by on tide from here. Switching over to the scope the ID wasn’t much easier, choice of either a sheep or a small seal, fortunately not one of few Harbour Porpoises. Only one thing for it; get on to the beach and check it out close up. As I approached it was easy to see why I might have thought it was a seal; it was well bloated and had lost almost all its hair and the skin had that typical seal dappled pattern. But closer inspection revealed skinny legs and cloven hooves, not a sheep but a Roe Deer that looked like, until a couple of days ago at least, was in the prime of life. It isn’t now, that’s for sure. I have been hoping to get good close up shots of this species for a while but never imagined I’d get pics from only 2 feet away…not quite what I was expecting though.Shame it’s so far gone because a bit of venison on the BBQ this weekend would have gone down a treat.
Hard to tell if the horrifically damaged back leg was the cause of death or a post death trauma.
Apparently, and I can well believe this, there are more Roe Deer than people living in the British countryside, most people just don’t see them because they don’t know how, where or when to look for them. Maybe it’s time to think about the reintroduction of some Lynx, which are specialist Roe Deer hunters. Such a scheme in Switzerland is working very well…or do we have enough dodgy big cats out there anyway, as filmed by MoD police officers in southern Scotland recently. According to the railway technical engineers at Novus Rail, in one of our offices, railway sleepers are normally about 710mm (2 feet 6 inches) apart so you can work out the size of the animal for yourself. The press release says the guys thought it was a Labrador at first. Frank is a Labrador and he’d be pretty big if he were a cat!
Where to next? More National Marine Week beachy stuff coming up tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what’s been left out for the scavengers in your outback.

1 comment:

Monika said...

Unreal! My beach surveys here haven't turned up birds or carcasses of any kind yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll never come across a roe deer and I sure hope I never come across a human!