Monday, May 31

New Forest Holiday - Watch the Birdy

Finally an improvement in this Bank Holiday's weather. Not that it has been particularly unpleasant in my opinion.

But local traffic volumes this weekend, especially an increasing number of caravans & mobile homes fleeing local campsites during Sunday afternoon, suggest that anything other than Brilliant Sunshine is regarded by this year's tourist as A Bad Thing if it happens during a Bank Holiday break.

Mid morning I decided on a whim to visit one of my New Forest secret spots. A strange location with the traffic noise of the busy A35 the accompaniment to the start\end sections of this circular route.

But despite such an ominous introduction I can usually guarantee, whenever I visit, to spot plenty of New Forest wildlife. The sort of things that the scurrying holidaymaker comes to the area to enjoy, but so rarely finds outside sanctified Forestry Commission sites (Or the 'to be avoided tourist traps' as we locally know them to be)

Today I thought my luck was due to fail when in the distance I spotted a walker & dog crossing directly through one of the main areas where I'd usually expect browsing deer.

Happily this worked to my advantage instead.

Ten minutes later I came upwind onto the largest herd I've seen in this location to date. Possibly the earlier presence of that walker/dog combination had spooked some separate groups to herd together and move to a safe location. One on my immediate path.

I moved forward carefully until the inevitable happened. My doggy companion,
trotting to-heel, has a powerful scent where deer are concerned. One that the herd's scouts, always alert to the unusual, had caught.

And off they went.

I watched them for a while, tracking their escape route for future reference. The herd 20-30 strong circling my position at a safe distance, until they felt secure enough to drop their heads and return to once again to their browsing in the sunshine. Blending, as they so easily do, into their background.

(New Forest Deer)

I ambled onwards. A solitary presence despite the Bank Holiday.

Further on a movement underfoot caught my attention alerting me of a forest ant trail.

I love watching the industry and single mindedness of these particular insects. As usual after a few seconds the eye\brain focuses into the detail turning the initial sight of several individual ants into a wide & endless trail of large black individuals busily intent on travel to & from their nest.

(New Forest Ant)

Nothing seems to deter these busy workers. Not even my size 7 feet menacingly moving in their direction. Wary of my potentially disruptive influence, and mindful of my Godlike ability to deliver mass destruction, however unintentional, I carefully side track around the flowing dark ribbon, to continue my wandering observation of Nature's daily routine.

Later, I came across a complimentary pattern, but this time a result of Bank Holiday tourists milling aimlessly around a local market. Unlike the ants their efforts seemed ill suited & haphazard.

All in the name of Bank Holiday leisure and relaxation.

It left me musing as to exactly who had the best lifestyle deal this holiday Monday?

Those with the 'choice' & 'self-awareness' to decide their own action and activity?

Or is it those creatures of Nature we believe have defined actions and reactions within a rigid hierarchical framework. All part of an interdependent & complex social order?

If the birds & bees lack that Free Will, which we Humans so celebrate, how is it my amateur observations today concluded the latter group to those so out of balance with their environment.

And so clearly dissatisfied as a result?

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Fantastic article. Thanks so much for your insight and example.
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