The Red Deer’s Belling


It’s a sunny Autumn afternoon, our car climbs up on the road towards the Cansiglio
Plateau. The great beech trees forest is observing us at the roadsides, while the sun lights its million golden leaves.

Arrived. Car is parked in front of the old dairy center, boots on, backpack, ready to go. The forestal track goes forward into the valley, chilly little wind, bit cold for the season, we walk.

On the pastureland near the farm on the hill, a herd of goats enjoy the sun reflecting on their white furs.

Walking on, we catch up two girls – “Are you also here to listen the deer belling ? ”- I ask – “ Really we often come here, we’re from Fregona, the village at the edge of the wood” – The girl with auburn hair and greenish eyes says – “ This is a magical place, at twilight two days ago, when the mist was rising up from the ground, the deer came down on the meadow; what an awesome show, the multitude of these eyes blinking in the dark! “- “ I’m pretty sure you’re a descendant from a beautiful Cimbrian ancestor”- I tell her, just before wishing a pleasant evening both of the girls. -“ I know”- is the answer.

Meanwhile, inside the wood plenty of belling can be heard. We can glimpse young deer peeping out from the edge of the forest.

The huge grassland of Menera Valley opens in front our eyes. I tell Pier Silvio, my son, better if we go over there, up to the high ground on the left, where we could overlook the field. So, we get inside the spruce pine wood and from there after fifteen mins of fast pace, we reach the dominant position. On the clearing at our back, as a magic, a deer mother and her son appear; motionless, we watch each other for a while. I took some pictures and they as leaving from a photo shoot,
quickly disappear.


The sun slowly shines far away behind the peaks; the light transforms itself every little while, painting gold tones any single blade of grass, spreading colors as orange marmalade on the trees trunks.

Now the belling of the stags resounds all around, powerful, from various points of the surrounding woods.

Suddenly a sound as someone was beating and rolling stones. -“We must go and see”- says me Pier- “ I’m sure it’s a stags fight!”-.

With a light pace, trying not to make noise as all, we get through the wood behind the trees and yes! 90 feet below us, at the bottom of a small valley, two big stags are crossing their horns, bitterly fighting each other, beating with a dull dry sound.

They do not see us, do not smell us, we are mute, still, flattered to the ground under the pines, enjoying the show.

It lasts for a short while, not more than a minute, I guess. The loser runs away with broken antlers.

We get down satisfied through the wood; some female deer with kids show us the path, jumping with lightness they fade away in the dark of the forest.

The great amphitheater of the mountains, like an immense sounding board, rings out of this rough, strong, stag’s song of love. It reminds me a sort of Tibetan monk’s chant, the power of its sounding vibrations.

-“ You were so lucky, it doesn’t happen very often to see a fight ”- People just down in the field, say us.

I made the right choice to go on the top and my son’s knack made the rest and yes we sought for luck…but no reply from us, not secret places to reveal, just hello in the dark.

Time to come back home now. Driving slowly through the main Cansiglio Plateau, a very big stag crosses our way and jumping the fence alongside the road, disappears in the night.


Wild Grouse Courtship Ritual at Dawn


It’s 2.30am, still dark, my brother and I are getting ready to reach the Mount Rest hoping to catch Wild Grouse courtship.

We leave Treviso behind and head towards NE, Friuli Region. After passing Sequals and Meduno, we head deep into the valley, passing a black shadow in the shape of cape. It’s Chievolis Lake, which now is completely covering once picturesque mountain village of Redona, with its ruins occasionally visible at the low tide. Further ahead, we pass through silent streets of Tramonti, our maternal ancestor’s native village. The car’s wheels are slowly passing through the hairpin turns of Mount Rest.


We finally reach the col at 4am, still feeling winter cold in the early May’s morning. In 10min and we are on our feet. Our trail takes us through enormous boulders, rolled down from the mountains, which are invading the path. In many parts the mule track is broken, bended, as if the mountain itself, with a thrill of pride was trying to shake off that old, twisted wound.

Carefully, we walk through a wide strip of snow, that is still there heading straight down to the underlying overhanging rock.

The morning light is coming up, showing our footsteps in azure, firmly pressed, step by step. The black of the night is losing its power, slowly being dissolved into a cobalt blue.

wild grouse

At 5.20am we reach the bottom of the wide sloping plan, which preludes the Mount Rest peak. We pass by the old cattleshed, abandoned ages ago by the looks of it. Only a tiny shelter remains ready to be used as a night refuge.

We continue to climb higher, over the steep grassy shoulder that will take us to the top, from where we would be able to watch the grouses mating ritual live. From there we observe a herd of chamois, that smelling us from the distance, quickly fades into the woods.

We go up the ridge as fast as possible, staying out of breath once we reached the peak’s bottom. This is the best position to observe the Capercaillies. It seems that we might have arrived late, as only a few of those incredibly looking, clumsy birds appears for a show. Stretched out on the grass we observe their courtship ritual: a real gear done with high head and chest out, emitting guttural sounds rather low. Still considering ourselves very lucky.

Far away, in the distance towards Austria, behind the Carnia’s Alps, the sky turns into red and orange, and as a huge fire begins to burn above our heads, as the Sun’s sphere powerfully appears to give light to all forms of life. Silently, in reverence like ancient worshipers, we witness the rising of the star. At last we reach the peak, and look around us to absorb in this fantastic mountain scenery. Out of my rucksack I pull the Tibetan bell and hit it! Its mysterious sound expands its vibrations up in the air. My way of greeting this bright morning.