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17 September 2014
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Upland activities

Red Deer

Uplands are great for watching wildlife that you wouldn't normally see in lowland areas.

These animals have to be tough to survive the harsh winter conditions which means that a little effort may be required to track them down in these wilderness locations.

Monarch of the wilderness - the Red Deer, a winter survivor.


Before you go...

* The weather is notoriously hard to predict in uplands so bring clothing for all occasions.

* Remember to wrap up warmly - for every 300 feet you climb, the temperature drops by one degree Celcius.

* Take a portable telescope - they may not be the easiest things to take up a mountain but you'll get a steady image and greater magnification than binoculars.

Deer watching on Exmoor

It's easy to see Red Deer in parks and country estates but watching them in a wilderness area is a totally different ball game.

Although 3,000 deer live on Exmoor, they're not always easy to spot - so why not use a little local knowledge?

Red Deer droppings are a sign that deer are in the vicinity. You can spot them by their size and smell.

Look for a slot or deer track, you can tell by its size whether it's a male or female.

RED DEER FACT FILE


Red Deer are Britain's largest animal - the stags stand four and a half feet at the shoulder and can weigh close to 600lbs.

When a Red Deer stag bellows out his challenge to other stags, the noise can be heard half a kilometre away.

 

The stags vie for the attentions of the hinds and then keep other stags away.

As far as possible keep downwind of the deer so your scent doesn't scare them off - they can smell you from half a mile away.

The deer have good eyesight and can spot you from a distance so wear camouflage colours.

Be quiet and don't make loud noises that will startle the deer.

At the end of winter the stags start to lose their antlers - if you visit the moors in winter, you might get lucky and find one.

Don't disturb the deer by getting too close or trying to touch them.

Wear dull coloured warm clothing and, if you can, get yourself a good guide - local knowledge is invaluable.

There are several local Exmoor Safaris that will be able to show wild Red Deer.

Reindeer watching

ReindeerIt's alright to get reasonably close to the Reindeer as long as you move slowly with no sudden movements.

Where to see them… head up the mountain! The reindeer love the snow and often stick to mountain tops where snow tends to linger.

Spotting males and females:

Both males and females have antlers unlike other deer. The antlers are used to clear snow allowing access to food in winter which is why both sexes need them.

The adult male or bull has a chunky appearance and sports irregularly branched and asymmetrical antlers - they are broadly palmate towards the tip.

An adult female or cow is more elegantly proportioned than the male.

Although branched the female's antlers are relatively short and lack the male's palmations.

Female reindeer are gregarious and are often accompanied by young animals of both sexes in the wild.

Adult males are solitary except during the rut and during migration.

The rut takes place in the autumn with a dominant male defending his 'herd' against rivals.

Raven spotting in Snowdonia

RavenRavens are the largest of the crow family and are about the size of a Buzzard.

The Raven has a huge bill, long, powerful wings and a wedge-shaped tail.

Listen for the raven's distinctive call - the bird has about 60 different sounds including an 'aw-aw' call, a hiss and a grunt.

Look for Ravens on peaks and rocky outcrops or anything that can act as a good vantage point.

Ravens feed on carrion - look for them feeding on dead sheep.

Keep your eyes open for Raven feathers on the ground, another indication that the birds may be in the vicinity.

 

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