Witching hour surprises!!

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Unfortunately I have no pics but I had to share the most amazing 45 mins of stalking I've had so far last Friday.

I had my gear in the car in the hope that I might grab the last hour to see if I could get a munty for Xmas after work. Alas it wasn't to be but am I glad I got out!

You may have seen my thread about the Sika and they are definitely on the ground now making themselves at home. I stalked around a plantation at about 3.30pm which is a bit overgrown with weeds trying to get into a position where I could cover a crossing pont before last light. This is about a mile from where they were seen crossing the road before. It's hard to explain but I had to approach the area with the wind the wrong way until I was in position. As I approached where I wanted to be, a Sika hind strolled out about 50 yards in front of me but was down wind. It did stay put for a minute or so and was then joined by another and a young stag who I have seen around on the adjacent land. I froze and they stayed put long enough for me to get a good look through the bins, before finally legging it away out of site. It's the closest I've been to a Sika and until 20 mins later the closest I'd been to any wild deer (alive and not spooked by my clumsy feet anyway!!)

I carried on into position and turned about face to look along a grass ride now with the wind in my face and settled in for the remaining 30mins or so of useable light, realistically thinking I had no chance of seeing much now!! How wrong I was!!

At about 3.50pm I heard a noise to my left in some grass/bushy area so looked through the bins and steadily panned round to where my rifle was pointing set on the quad sticks. Now nothing could have prepared my for what I was to see next and I swear this is the truth!! As I swung round looking through the bins along the line of my rifle they blacked out as though the lens caps were partly drawn across the front. I lowered them to see what was going on and got the fright of my life. A Kestrel had flown in and landed on my moderator!!!! I hadn't heard a thing and it must have come in from my right shoulder into the wind to use as a spotting point. It's just a pity that I jumped that friggin high when I saw it I scared it away and it flew off!! That and the girly yelp didn't help either coz it scared me shitless!!

I then found out what the noise was to my front left because my little yelp had made a roe doe pop her head up from behind a bush not 20 yards away!! My heart rate peaked again and I steadily got the bins up to see a lovely creature in winter coat and the most pronounced gorget patch right in front of me, slightly obscured by a decent sized bush. It got even better as her 2 young doe's appeared from behind her, I assume from this year, and walked even closer. She knew something was amiss because her ears were independantly moving like radars and she was looking straight toward me, but with me downwind, slightly obscured and dead still she just carried on browsing and grazing. One of the young uns got to 5 yards from me before seeing me but then didn't flee, just jumped away a bit cautiously and stopped again. I watched them for about 10 mins until finally they moved downwind and got my scent, then scarpered with their targets flared bright white into the plantation!!

I never got a shot but it was the most magical hour I've had on the ground ever and will never be forgotten. Even the Mrs listened to me when I got home because I was still buzzing and I think she could see how much it meant to me!!


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