Chris, Raimund, Tom and listers,
Thank you for your very helpful responses. I ran the recorder the next
night, getting up to keep the file sizes within limit and got zilch
deer-wise. Then it started raining. Snow? what snow? I followed up the
links and these led on to more and I found more recordings.
My wife (who lives elsewhere) thought it was a fox, and she knows a
lot about deer having been brought up on Exmoor, but she's got cloth
ears. It's worth a brief divertion to watch a fox video which I
challenge anyone to watch with a straight face:
I found a site from the British Library which is partially open to
plebeans like me - no Muntjac but this is the red fox search link I
I took a bit of time with one of these fox recordings which matched
mine but not the others on the list. Having spent some time on this, I
then listened to some Roe deer recordings and their barks are much
longer. I may know a bit about sound recording, but I'm a duffer with
species, but I still have good analytical ears. The other fox calls
sounded distinctly canine, unlike any of the deer calls. I'm inclined
against this one fox call and suspect it's either anomalous or a
I've failed to find a Muntjac recording, but we have Muntjac in North
Devon. I saw one several times about three years ago and so did my
neighbour. I once chased it down my drive at night and it runs more
like a pig, not very daintily. I had a little white under its tail,
small bulbous body, but I didn't get a good look at its face as it is
a very shy species. We haven't seen it for two years and the suspicion
is that someone ate it. There's a principle around here that good
wildlife is dead wildlife.
> The comparison is here:
Chris, thanks. I've looked at this in Audacity, trying to find
fundamental frequecies, but the calls are enharmonic. By my ears, the
Roe call sounds deeper and ignoring reverb, it is about twice as long.
I'd say that they were likely to be different species unless there are
strong gender differences.
My best guess is that it's a Muntjac call. It hasn't been back like
the currently quiet Roes who trigger my camera frequently, and it
didn't go past my camera on the regular Roe route. The echoes indicate
path lengths of about 20 and 200 metres which would be consistent with
a steep bank at the top of my wood and echoes from the opposite
forested hill. Muntjac are solitary with large territories and it's
probably moved on if it's looking for a mate. They rut at any time in
the year, it says.
The enhancement I did was to take out most of the quad bike that was
probably out lamping, using a tailored HPF which did not affect the
call frequencies. I also did some careful noise filtering making sure
that the wanted call sounded the same and retaining the echoes. I'm
annoyed I didn't get the mics out quicker as it started calling in
conifers opposite my cottage and was very loud, but I got a good
listen to it direct as well.
North Devon, UK
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - Ambrose Bierce