Fri 2nd Nov 2012
I attended a very special event a few weeks ago, the 90th birthday of my old school teacher Mrs Bond. She lives in Yeovil now and I drove over for a surprise visit, dressed up in all my outdoor gear.
She recognised me immediately and was so pleased to see me. The funny thing was that her grandsons had visited the day before and she didn’t know who they were. I guess no teacher would forget having me in their class as got up to a lot of mischief back in those days.
I was very busy running my Exmoor Safaris through October but they’re over now for the year which is why I’ve finally found time to talk to you lovely people. We’ve had a great time out on the moor and I’ve made lots of new friends. Thank you to all of you who’ve sent me photos to put in my ‘Friends of Johnny’ gallery on the website.
The rut has been a bit disappointing this year and certainly not as good as last year. I think it’s because it has been so warm and misty. The red deer like the cold weather.
There’s still some stags out there roaring. If you go looking for them take good care and don’t get too close as they’re at their most dangerous now. Most of the hinds have gone through now, that is, they’ve mated, so the stags are competing fiercely for the few that are left.
We lost a big stag this season, up on Dunkery. My friend Mike Fook saw him when he was out filming. The poor animal has lost as eye in a fight with another stag and maybe got other injuries too as he was lying there dead. That’s how it goes sometimes. It’s sad to lose an old one but there are always younger stags waiting to take their place.
I was up at Kingsford Gate recently, the highest point on Exmoor here in North Devon, looking for those short-eared owls I’ve mentioned before. They hunt by day which makes them easier to spot than the nocturnal tawny and barn owls. It was very misty and damp but I got a few good shots which I was really pleased about. You can see one of them above.
The other thing that has been keeping me very busy is the new DVD I’m making about my trip to Alaska which will be out for Christmas. I’m nearly finished and will be doing the sound track next week which I always find the worst job. As soon as it’s ready I’ll get it up on the website.
I don’t have a firm date yet for the BBC4 film on Alaska but it’s still due to be shown at Christmas. I’ll let you know when as soon as it’s confirmed.
God bless for now and I’ll see you again soon.