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17 September 2014
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Estates activities

Deer at Calke Abbey

Country estates are a great place for wildlife watching because of the wealth of different habitats.

So why not try deer stalking on a park estate or even go rock pooling on a coastal estate?

Outstanding estates - country parks are great wildlife havens

Choose between two very different activities...

* Rock pooling - look for marine life.
* Deer stalking - watch breeding deer in spring.


PipefishRock pooling can be a fabulous way of looking at marine life.

One of the best times to go rock pooling is during a low tide when when marine creatures are left behind in shallow pools.

Sheltered bays are especially good because they tend to be good for seaweed which is in turn provides food and shelter for many marine creatures.

During low tide rockpoolers can find a wealth of marine creatures including crabs, lobsters, sea hares and shrimps.

Here are some of the creatures to look out for:

* Different types of crab including the Common Shore Crab, edible Crab, and Hermit Crabs.

* Squat Lobsters - these creatures are related to the lobsters we eat but are differentiated by their tail which is flipped under and looks as if it's been chopped in half.

* Pipefish - this marine creature is related to the Sea Horse. The male of the species carries its babies.

* Brittle Star - this creature moves using its star arms.

* Sea Hares and Sea Slugs - look out for two tentacles at front which look like ears, and its purple ink squirting.

* Prawns and Shrimps.

* Dog Whelks and Periwinkle eggs sticking to side of rocks.

* Sea Urchins - this creature cunningly camouflages itself, covering itself with a stone.

* Starfish - there is always a leading leg which is the first one to start moving.

Don't forget to return all creatures back to where you found them.

And always check tide times to ensure that you're going at the best time and avoid getting cut off during high tide.

Culzean estate in Scotland is a good place to go rock pooling.

Deer stalking

DeerCountry estates are amongst the best places to go deer watching.

Here are some top tips on making the most of your trip:

* Follow tell tale signs such as deer tracks and trees with evidence of deer damage.

* Deer prints are easily recognised - look for the shape of their tracks in the mud.

* Look up at the browse line on trees where the deer have munched to a certain height.

* The height of the browse line will tell you which species is doing the eating - look for the nibbling of bark and rubbing of trees with antlers.

* Identifying the various species of deer is relatively straightforward. One of the biggest clues lurks in the deer's heads and their tails.

* Red Deer are bigger and have a ginger rear.

* Fallows have white bums with a black stripe, and the Sika are more of a white powder puff.

* Spring is a good time to see baby deer but be very quiet and observe from a distance with binoculars.

Calke Abbey in the East Midlands is a great place to go deer stalking.



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