Deer seen in the South Loch Ness area and the Highlands of Scotland.
The main species of deer seen in the area are Red, Roe and Sika. The red and roe are the only truly native species to this country. Sika deer were introduced into Britain from the Far East in about 1860.
The Red deer is our largest land mammal with a plain reddish brown coat and the stag has well developed branched antlers, the number of branches increasing with age with up to 16 points in mature animals – the ‘Monarch of the Glen’. While red deer are resident all year round, they tend to spend the summer up in the hills and remote glens moving down to lower levels in the winter where food is more readily available. The best time to see and hear them is during the annual rut each autumn. They can be heard at Camerons from the hills on the other side of Loch Ness. This magnificent red deer stag was spotted on the hill top as we journeyed to Fort Augustus in May fiercely guarding his family of hinds and he gave us a few warning stamps and snorts.
The Roe deer is the most attractive looking deer and is slightly smaller with a reddish brown coat in the summer changing to a darkish brown or grey colour in the winter. It has short antlers of about 30cms with three points on each and rather large ears. It does not form herds but is seen singly or in groups of just 2 or 3.
Sika deer are intermediate in size between red and roe deer. They have a reddish brown to yellow brown coat with a dark dorsal stripe surrounded by white spots in the summer. Their winter coat is dark grey to black with faint spots and the head appears narrow and pointed compared to other deer species. The tail is shorter and sika deer are easily recognized by the distinctive white heart shaped patch on their rump. When alarmed this white area can double in size. Males have antlers which are narrow and poorly branched and are shed in April.
Sika and roe deer will be seen regularly wandering around very near to Camerons Cottage. They are as curious about you as you will be about them so they are not easily alarmed. Please respect the fact that you are in ‘their’ garden.
There are numerous herds of rather scruffy wild deer roaming about in the less well known and accessible parts of the Highlands – you just have to get out in the car and explore. When we explored the less inhabited west coast and visited some of the inland and sea lochs the views were amazing and the wildlife aplenty – all a day trip away from Camerons Cottage.
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