A really gloomy morning, so apologies up front for the somewhat grainy photos, but hopefully this sequence is of interest to some.
First saw this girl in the same field I've seen her the last few times - you may recognise it (and her) from previous photo threads:
She was quite content grazing away whilst keeping an eye on me and the dogs, and then this chap came literally bounding across the field:
They had a bit of a chase around, and then headed into a small patch of wood where I lost sight of them:
On the far side of the field is the "long grass" field, now cut, where I've seen both the doe and the buck several times before, so thinking they might want to court on home turf I walked down to it. Again, some of you may recognise this field from previous photo threads.
Sure enough, they were using this field to get to know each other, repeatedly scent marking and chasing each other:
Eventually the doe headed off through the hedge into an adjacent field, the buck was eager to follow:
By the time I got the dogs and myself to the next field, they were racing around full pelt:
In between chases, the buck would lie down to regain his composure, the doe teasing him all the while:
Eventually the buck had to lie down again, although the doe remained keen, forcing him to get up and chase her again:
At this point they disappeared off to the far corner of the field to be replaced by an early morning jogger and her labrador! Keeping on the footpath I made my way through to the next but one field, where I've also seen the doe before. Sure enough, she was there:
The buck turned up a couple of minutes later, but unfortunately they then disappeared into a field of uncut rape where I lost them, so I don't know whether their relationship was ever consummated. Regardless, it's pretty clear the rut is on!
It was fascinating to spend the best part on an hour acting as a voyeur to these two roe. Most of us associate the roe rut with the chance to shoot bucks that are otherwise elusive, but it also presents a great opportunity to really study the behaviour of these wonderful deer.