Close encounter with young wildlife

PUBLISHED: 16:48 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:30 28 May 2010

IT is always exciting to have really close-up encounters with wildlife. Even the most common creatures can take on a whole new light when you ve seen them at really close range. I was almost bowled over by a muntjac deer the other day. I got out of my car

IT is always exciting to have really close-up encounters with wildlife. Even the most common creatures can take on a whole new light when you've seen them at really close range.

I was almost bowled over by a muntjac deer the other day. I got out of my car and heard the rapid footsteps of a four-legged creature hurtling across the muddy car park surface.

Expecting a dog, I was surprised to see a tiny muntjac (it wasn't very old) heading directly towards me.

I kept still, so as not to startle the animal and it just kept coming, not lessening its speed at all.

Just as it looked as though it was going to run straight through my legs and under my car, it must have suddenly realised exactly what it was heading for and veered off sharply.

Its next problem was the wire fence around the car park, which it had great trouble trying to get through and into the safety of the adjacent woods.

It soon started to get very distressed, leaping at the fence to try and break through. Glancing up, I saw why. A watchful buzzard had appeared and was circling around just above it.

Muntjacs can breed at any time of year and this youngster was no doubt a product of the mild winter. Adults are small enough, but this one wasn't much bigger than a large domestic cat and was probably only a week or two old.

I was glad to see it survived the excitement unscathed as, later in the day, I watched it peacefully browsing under a yew hedge along the edge of the car park.

I had another close encounter with an even smaller animal. I was watching a big flock of several thousand pink-footed geese grazing on sugar beet tops in a field from the edge of a wood.

The wood was providing with me excellent camouflage and the geese had no idea I was there.

I knew I wasn't obvious when I heard a rustling of leaves and a weasel popped its head up just a couple of inches from my feet.

Again, I kept dead still and for 10 minutes it foraged for food beneath branches and logs within a three or four yard radius of where I stood, providing stunning views and an unforgettable encounter.


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