It can be hard work trying to find a mate – especially if you’re a red deer. As the nights draw in, the stags arrive on their favoured rutting territories to battle for supremacy and attract a harem of females. The RSPB has two unique opportunities to witness this amazing spectacle at close quarters on the Suffolk coast this autumn.
Visitors are invited to watch one of England’s largest herds of red deer gather at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve. The free viewpoint on Westleton Heath is open at weekends from Saturday 22 September 2012 to Sunday 21 October 2012, from 3.30 pm to dusk, when RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand with binoculars and telescopes.
RSPB spokesman, Alex Boothby, said: “The sight and sound of the red deer rut is one of the UK’s best wildlife spectacles. The stags are truly impressive beasts. After all, they are the UK’s biggest land mammal. They’re just returning from surrounding woodland to join Minsmere’s resident hinds.
“It is an amazing sight to watch the stags sizing each other up, their deep bellows resounding across the heath. If you’re lucky you may even see two equally sized stags clashing antlers in a quest for dominance. It’s not just deer either, as you may see a whole range of other wildlife, including rabbits, foxes or green woodpeckers from the viewpoint.”
The red deer viewpoint is on Westleton Heath. Park in the Natural England car park on the Westleton to Dunwich road, then follow the signed route on foot for half a mile to the viewpoint. Limited parking for wheelchair users is available if booked in advance.
The RSPB is also offering 4×4 tours to get even closer to the herds. These deer safaris are available on selected dates during the same period, subject to availability. Places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance by calling 01728 648281. Costs are £100 per vehicle, or £60 for RSPB members.