The last few days have shown some of the extremes on the reserve - as far as mammal size is concerned anyway. First was a trip out the back to see the Red Deer in their rutting grounds (we couldn't run the safaris last year obviously, but there are a number available this year (be quick, most have already been snapped up!)).
Not all the Red Deer stags are challenging the big boys, this one was keeping safely out of the way, hiding in the gorse
and some seemed to be happy giving rides to the local Magpies, despite the damage to their tough-guy street-cred!
The ladies as always are moving between the fellas, deciding who'd be best at fathering their young
But it's the stags everyone likes to see - and this chap seems to be the current champion
He was too magnificent to capture just as a still image, so here's a little film of the activity as well
They may be large (full grown stag in rut can get to 1/4 tonne!) but we shouldn't forget that ultimately, deer are prey (OK, not many wolves around, even at Minsmere, but prey none the less). At the other extreme, we get some quite small, yet ferocious mammal predators in the form of stoats. This one had caught a rabbit
It climbed the fence to get a longer view of people watching it - not that it seemed too bothered by us, as long as we stayed at a reasonable distance
It seemed to really like the fence, zipping up and over, backwards and forwards a few times after dragging the rabbit under cover
Eventually, it settled down for a well-deserved breakfast
You can only marvel at the strength of these little animals, the rabbit has to weigh more than the stoat, yet it moves it with ease
No-one can say that every day is the same when you visit Minsmere :-)
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Our herring gulls are red listed birds. Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.
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