Early Summer Wildlife 2024

People who follow my work closely will immediately notice that this year's early summer project has expanded to include species other than roe deer. There are fewer roe present at the nature reserve, and this has been the case since 2023. It would appear that the neighbouring farmer has stopped keeping horses, and fences installed to prevent them leaving have now been cut. Grazing horses kept grasses short, allowing buttercups, a roe deer favourite, to thrive. Buttercups now have to compete with other summer flora. There are currently only four roe deer — two does, one mature buck and one yearling buck. I have seen the dominant buck chasing the young male, so he can have exclusive access to the females. He is very confident and if he makes an appearance, I can easily observe him, time permitting. The females are not ready to mate, but the buck is showing signs of being interested.

I like to take great care of my expensive tripod-mounted camera and lens, especially when positioning it as I prepare to climb over fences. It was bound to happen at some point. Just as I mounted a gate, my weight caused it to tip back, and the camera fell to the ground, popping out the function control dial and faceplate. After inspecting the camera and thank heaven finding no malfunction, I searched for the missing dial using a torch. It took me all of ten minutes to find them, with thoughts about expensive quotes going through my mind. It was quite easy to self-repair the dial at home with some glue. I won't be making that mistake again.

 Roe deer June 2024

 

Roe deer doe June 2024

 

Roe deer grazing June 2024

 

Roe deer doe June 2024

 

Roe deer leaping June 2024

 

Roe buck June 2024

 

It is perfectly normal for young crows to leave the nest before they are ready to fly. Sometimes, people mistakenly 'rescue' fledgling crows, who may spend time on the ground or on tree branches. Unless they are injured or diseased, no human intervention is necessary. The young crow has to undergo this process in order to fly, just like this beauty preparing to make its first independent journey. I had the privilege of spending over an hour with this bird, before it flew off to start adult life.

 

Fledgling Crow June 2024

 

Fledgling Crow June 2024

 

Fledgling Crow June 2024

 

Fledgling Crow June 2024

 

I had just arrived at the nature reserve and was on the phone to my mother, when I spotted a fox and then another and another — I'll call you back! Two hours later, I had recorded fox cubs play fighting, suckling their mother's milk and one curious, but naive cub heard my camera and ran over to investigate, not once, but twice. Fox cubs are innocent, like human toddlers, and unaware of danger. The young fox thought nothing of coming over to investigate this curious humanoid pointing a giant eye in his direction. The cub approached so close, that he was beyond the minimum focussing distance of my lens. His tiny body looked comparable to a young domestic cat. As any humanoid parent will understand, both parents looked equally exhausted and watchful of their energetic, vulnerable young. Watching the joyful, exuberant fox cubs show their boundless energy is a memory to treasure forever.

 

Family of foxes, June 2024

 

Fox cubs playfighting June 2024

 

Fox cubs play fighting June 2024

 

Fox cubs play fighting in buttercups June 2024

 

Male fox in buttercups June 2024

 

Fox cub walking in buttercups June 2024

 

Curious fox cub June 2024

 

Fox cub in buttercups June 2024

 

Fox cub June 2024

 

Fox cub close-up June 2024

 

The summer months always seem to pass quickly. I booked two weeks off and the time seemed to fly past. Although the winter months drag on, I wish the apparent passage of time would go in the opposite direction. And don't get me started on the 'summer' weather, which is more typical of April. I hope you've enjoyed these photos as much as I've enjoyed taking them, even with a fleece on. The holiday was fun-packed, the camera still intact.

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