This afternoon I climbed the No. 1 Line track again and sat in the late sun, scribbling and listening to several unseen stags roaring. Two were distant but clearly somewhere in the headwaters; the third, though, roared sporadically from just across the gully. I searched perfunctorily with the 10x42s but had no chance of seeing him through the dense canopy; the only hope was if he'd ventured onto one of the small, semi-open slips but that didn't happen. I didn't mind not seeing him; just hearing him roar was good enough.
Back home, the bigger of the stags has been roaring consistently for about a week now. Before the month's out the roar will almost certainly be over, not just on the farms but in the hills as well, and the wild stags will revert to their usual wary way of life. They'll retain their antlers through the winter then, in late spring or early summer, shed them as they start growing a new set.
These two sets of antlers hang next to where I park my car. So far I haven't walked into them. The big set is from one of the red stags who used to live here; the smaller set is from a wild fallow.
[22 March 2014, Olympus OM-D EM-1, 12–40mm f/4, ISO 1600, 1/8 at f/2.8]
All content © 2014 Pete McGregor