There's a wood north of my village which I've passed by twice a day every school day for the last year and a half. It's about a mile long, but I never thought of exploring it, until last autumn when dad thought there may be otters. He went to look for sign sof them - but found lots of red deer markings instead. I left the trail camera there to film the red deer, then at the start of December, a roe deer died close to where the camera was, and it's been filming there ever since.
So I know lots about what is in the wood from the trail cam footage, but I hadn't explored it properly, so last Saturday I decided to explore the wood in more detail to see if I could see any animal signs or find more bones - and this is what I found !
We decided that we would walk around the edge of the wood. We decided to split up. Dad found these bones. They were pretty chewed up, and looked like they were from one of the woodpigeons that roost in thewoods. There was a keel, coracoid and a wing.
At the south edge of the wood we found this grey squirrel trap. The black bit at the top had a small ledge for shelter, and there were still some grain in it. Taking the grain would normally shut the trap.
There was a bit of wire, stopping the trap from closing, but I don't think the squirrels (or the pine marten) have ever been in here because it still had all of the grain. I certainly haven't see many signs of squirrels being there, whether grey or red.
They had these old feed bags hanging at the edge of the wood to scare off the deer from going into the field beyond.
This was the bit of the wood that was completely destroyed by the storm we had a couple of weeks ago. It is almost impossible to walk through.
Just beside the tree we found a red deer spiker skull.
We found this poo on the wall next to the seat. We thought it could be from the pine marten, but it seems a little small so we're not sure.
Walking up to the cam, we saw a buzzard fly up from where the body was - it had been feeding off the body about 20 minutes before, and must have been resting nearby. After we checked the cam, we went into the dense bit of the wood and found this hind skull.
After we pulled it out, we I originally thought it was a wheel, but now we think it could be part of a mill or other machinery and it had a belt going round it.
There were deer tracks through even the most dense parts of the wood. Red deer are easy to track, because they often use the same paths in large groups in single file, and their heavy weight means they leave distinct footprints, especially when they need to jump over streams or fences.
From here we walked up the side of the wood beside the road, back to the centre where we had parked. As we came into the open, central section, we saw a group of deer on the far side of the wood !
I counted 15 in total - and this was a really good sight because the biggest herd I have seen in this wood was a herd of eight !
On this walk I only brought one skull home (plus a dead baby mole I found), but it's still taught me a lt about where I might track the red deer in the future - and other things I can look for !
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