Every year, around the end of June, I meet up with Rob up at Silvertrees Holiday Park, on the edge of cannock Chase, to set up some Bushnells in a very special location. Rob and I have a special quiet site, amongst the bracken, where we film the fallow does and their new fawns. As the bracken starts growing up in May, Rob keeps this area trimmed, in order to keep it clear and create a small ‘arena’, that is screened completely by the tall bracken. They are not seen out in the park until they are about a month old.
Fallow does give birth in this long bracken and they hide their fawns, leaving them during the day and returning to them to feed them. By creating this ‘arena’ we encourage them to interact in an open space, where they feel safe. This leads to some very special footage over the last few years. Rob and I set up the cameras before I headed to Shetland and then Rob kindly swapped the cards over for the next month or so.
We obviously collected a huge amount of footage and it is hard to decide what to share. You can see all the clips in a playlist on my YouTube Channel, but these are a selection of my favourites here.
This year, we didn’t get much footage of the does and fawns as we have in the past, but got lots of single or paired fawns. The fallows here vary greatly in colour from the natural pale brown, spotted, through to melanistic individuals that appear almost black. There are variants between, creating ranges from dark brown through to a golden colouration.
Sometimes, there are twins and these can be of different colourations…
As the fawns get older, they become more confident, very springy and playful… they are an absolute delight to watch!
When they are older, the stags will compete, using antlers. These youngsters are getting some early practise!
Sometimes you capture the unexpected…… we think this woodcock was actually breeding nearby…
Interesting to see how the woodcock uses its white tail feathers to flash a warning…..
I did have a few night time clips, but the light in this one was rather special… almost like a stage set!
and a few other visitors made appearances… this fox clip was rather nice….
A big thank you to Rob who looked through lots of the footage and helped by collecting the cards and swapping batteries. Worth it I think… another great year at Silvertrees!