Just found these in my archive from before I discovered iSpot! Not great pics but thought I'd post them anyway.
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These are roe deer, buck on the left and doe on the right, I assume they were together and teh buck is the animal whose rear can be seen in the right hand photo.
The large ears with black outline, black tip to the muzzle and white lips are the roe dear indicators, along with the general body shape or jizz. The dark back and paler flanks indicates they are mature animals, as I would expect in February.
I can not be sure from the photo but I suspect the buck is in its first year, it appears to have only two points per antler (four pointer). Roe deer usually don't get the full three points per antler (six pointer) till their second year.
The buck's antlers are in velvet, roe deer are the only British deer that sheds its antlers and grows new ones in winter when food is scarce. Does this suggest, as a species, they evolved in warmer climes?
Another question about roe deer, should they really be classed as native? Roe deer bones dating from before the last ice age have been found in England, but they were extinct in Wales and probably in England by the early 19th Century due to over hunting. They just clung on in the highlands of Scotland. All the roe deer you see in England and Wales are decendents of animals released in the late 19th Century.
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I don't know what the official or scientific definition of 'native' is, but the common sense viewpoint seems to me to be that roe deer as a species are native to Britain, even though the current populations in England may have been reintroduced using individuals from another part of Britain (ie. Scotland).
When I go wild mammal watching overseas, I think I'm quite picky in that I don't like to count a sighting if the species is completely introduced (ie. it's never existed in that country/area, but has perhaps been introduced for hunting or whatever), but if humans have extirpated a native species and then reintroduced it, I would count it as native regardless of how much time has passed.
Should I have posted this as a discussion in a forum? - I'm not sure how that works on iSpot, but I feel I'm going off-topic in relation to Abbey's roe deer sighting :-)
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
It's a difficult one to determine an exact defintion for. If something is native because it occurs naturally without human intervention then does it count if the habitat that instigated it's presence is created due to human intervention? - which most are! To me, a reintroduced species is native if it was originally removed by human intervention - in such cases humans have only cancelled out their original intervention. So, Roe deer are native in my mind.
Re: "Should I have posted this as a discussion in a forum? - I'm not sure how that works on iSpot". Not sure whether you mean in terms of etiquette or how it works technically, but if technical then select 'Forum' on the right then theres a link at the top of the page to create a new forum topic. If you mean in terms of etiquette, then I would say it's fine to go off-topic. Many obs have turned into discussion. If the observation has provoked the discussion then it seems valid to me! ;-)
OU Student BSc Natural Sciences
I didn't expect my comment to generate such interest, therefore, I've created a forum for this question at:
It is OK to have discussions within an observation, but I feel if it gets to the point where it is generating lots of interest then it is best run as a forum. Not so much because it detracts from someones observation but so it reaches a wider audience.
If you like you could cut and paste your comments so far on the new forum. I've expanded on it a little so you may feel you want to comment on the new points I've raised as well.
Thanks Abbey for kick-starting this with your lovely photos.
Are roe deer really as rare in Wales as the NBN map suggests?
Yes Bob, they were extinct till around 100 years ago when some were released on private estates. They have yet to fully colonise the country. The current distribution is also partly limited be the presence of woodland.
Lat/Lng: 54.4, -3.1
OS grid ref: NY3305