We were six consenting adults gathered in the wilds of rural Andalucía to see a sex show; a once-a-year opportunity to watch the local babes shake their booties at a bunch of ‘horny’ males.
More precisely, we’d booked on an excursion to witness the berrea, the awesome autumnal ritual that goes on, for the most part unseen by humans, as summer mellows into autumn in Spain. And the densly cork-forested Los Alcornocales Nature Park which surrounds the Campo de Gibraltar is, allegedly, one of the best spots to see it.
You get a lot for €20, the average price of a ticket: foreplay, accompanied by a chorus of baritone bellowing; a thrilling trial of strength (antlers away!) and, if you’re extremely lucky, the grand finale – with transport, guides and a picnic thrown in.
And if you still haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, here’s the publicity poster that lured us into the countryside on a nothing-better-to-do Saturday night, along with a small group of fellow nature lovers we’d never met before.
Yes, it does sound mildly pornographic. As a former townie from Fuengirola, I had no idea this kind of thing went on in the countryside. Not the deer rut, of course, but the organised excursions to see it.
But if snooping on Mr Stag getting his leg over Bambi’s mother sounds more than a tad voyeuristic I can only say, ‘if only’.
There we were, six strangers in the fading light, hung about with zoom lenses and binoculars better designed for the theatre, attempting to bring a small brown speck on the fringes of the tree line into focus. It was at least a kilometre away but we could see it didn’t have antlers. It was a doe (a deer, a female deer). The stags? They were at some other party. We could hear them grunting and, by the sound of it, it was a wild gig!
It reminded me of the time we saw a grey speck in Tarifa, on a whale watching trip … But that’s another story.
No one’s to blame. (And the tour company offered to take us again, free of charge.) When you book a ticket to one of Mother Nature’s shows, there are no guarantees. Just ask Sir David Attenborough.
And, ok, you can see everything bigger and better on TV. But it’s the thrill of the unknown …the idea of what you might see (if things go according to plan). And, if they don’t (and if you’ll excuse the pun) at least it gets you out of a rut!
Or stay in London where you might have more chance of seeing a stag in rut at close quarters, as this poor man did:
Sizzle Tip No. 1: blogging
When something’s a bust, don’t discard it. Every experience is bloggable, even a non-event.
Better luck next time!
4 FAST FACTS