Thursday 17th February 2011 was very mild and spring-like. For the first time this year, I felt over-dressed in Merino wool thermals, which, given temperatures of 12°C, was understandable. The days are getting longer and once again, after-work excursions into the countryside are possible. I weighed up the relative merits of Friston Forest and Brighton Pier, but I fancied a walk along the South Downs in search of Roe deer. I encountered the deer at the bottom of a valley, basking in the glorious sunshine. Within minutes of seeing me, the Roe deer made their way north, to a secluded (or so they thought) thicket. I met them again, half-an-hour later. The group of four divided into pairs.
A leaping Roe deer never fails to raise a smile. I simply love the way in which this agile species of deer leaps - they almost stand upright using their hind legs - springing over 2 metres into the air, gliding along before landing on their front legs, galloping for a short distance and leaping again. In July 2002, I saw a doe leap over a 2 metre hedge, despite the animal being only about 70cm tall.