One of the great things about wildlife watching is the chance nature of the encounter and the unexpected opportunity.
Birds of prey are especially good at providing, often fleeting but richly rewarding views.
Adam Smithson had such an experience with a red kite captured dramatically swooping over the field just to the northwest Over Haddon on May 9 this year. As common buzzards and red kites increase across the region, this is something that will become more regular.
Already, many gardeners experience sparrowhawks as frequent callers to domestic gardens. Visits, whilst not welcomed by all, do provide opportunity for a remarkable contact with raw nature.
Back to Sheffield and deer records with a message from Keith Kendall, the vice chair of the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group. “I heard you on the radio a few weeks ago talking about reports of sightings of Roe Deer in the Crookes and Walkley areas.
“We are getting quite a few reports now of deer in the valley, some from the urban fringe and others from local farmers. I have been with the group for 20 years now and it is only over the last 12 months that we have started to get reports on a more regular basis.
“Is this in line with your findings of deer in the valley?”
My answer is a resounding ‘yes’ and a plea for people to complete the online surveys (http://www.ukeconet.org/?page_id=273). There is a movement of red deer into Rivelin and a rather recent arrival of roe deer; so exciting times.
There is also more information to download on (http://www.ukeconet.org/?page_id=233).
David Allen was also in touch following my recent appeal for deer sightings in The Star. “Just to say that on May 31 I saw a young roe deer (with about 6-inch antlers) in Longley Park, Sheffield.
“This was at 9 am in the morning. How it entered the park, I do not know, as the entrances are few and the hedges or fences are high.
“I have not seen it since. It was anxious because of the number of dog walkers around and it hid in the woodland alongside Crowder Road.”
Therefore, it seems that deer are moving into the city and around the river valleys, which form the topographic spokes of the wheel of Sheffield’s wildscape. Muntjac deer have been recorded around Parkwood Springs, close by the Midland Station, and in the heartlands of Meersbrook.
Red deer have long been recorded along the urban River Don and are now moving down the Sheaf Valley too. Where next I wonder? Do let me know if they arrive on your doorstep.
Professor Ian D. Rotherham, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues, is contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org; follow Ian’s Walk on the Wildside, UK Conet click for more information.