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Today as I walked into my local woods at Bourne Valley, Colchester, I noticed fresh Deer droppings along the pathway and so I was instantly on the alert and search for the Deer. Whilst on my Deer search, I noticed some small mushrooms beside the brook, which I began to photograph with my phone. As I was crouched down next to the mushrooms, I heard a noise in front of me. To my amazement, it was the Muntjac Deer who found me instead. It came strolling into the brook right in front of me; the closest I have ever been to a Deer, which was really exciting. The Deer kept staring at me, however it seemed totally unfazed.
As it moved along the brook, I attempted to follow it and observe it. But this time, the Deer ran off up the hill and away from me. The fact that I was now moving and standing probably spooked it. It then felt like a game of hide and seek, in which I spotted it a few more times in different locations within the woods. Despite it being a tiny woods, it was relatively hard to keep track of where it was going. Definitely my best encounter with a Muntjac Deer as we stared each other in the eyes.
The Deer in my video is a Reeves Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), which are not endemic to Britain. They were in fact brought over from China and introduced to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire in the early 20th Century. Due to escapes and deliberate releases, the Deer rapidly spread across south and central England and Wales.
Unlike all other British Deer, Muntjac don’t have a specified breeding season (rut) and thus can breed all year round. They are also known as ‘barking deer’ because they produce repetitive loud barks. I have experienced their bark before and it is not a noise you would expect from a deer. Below is the sound clip I recorded.
Information sourced from The British Deer Society.
If you would like to find out more about British Deer or Muntjac then you may be interested in the following books: