Now that the antlers are fully grown, the 'velvet' covering becomes redundant. It dies and shreds and the deer thrash their antlers against vegetation to rub it off. At this time they may be seen briefly with blood stained tatters of skin dangling across their faces. This is especially so with the fallow bucks.
The grey squirrel is an introduced species and although it does not have natural predators, it is pretty good at defending itself and scurrying out of harm's way into the tree canopy.
In mid-late summer the grey squirrel has the destructive habit of stripping bark off trees, causing young trees to die and older trees to lose branches.
This naturally-occurring algae reaches its peak 'bloom' during August in the Diana fountain and the park's ponds. It's long filaments are floating in the water and can create a scum of algae blown by the wind to collect along one bank.
By the now we should have seen signs of the first migrants on the move with an increase in numbers of the commoner warblers.
For those who live close to or choose to visit the park in the evenings should notice the numbers of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins building up. They feed on the abundance of airborne insect life that is to be found here particularly at the time of the day. The Swifts will also heading off to Africa before the end of the month, but they and the hirundines had better be alert, they could fall victim to our local masters of the air, the Peregrine and the Hobby both species breed close by. I should also say that the Sparrowhawk is also partial to a recently fledged Swallow or Martin.
From the middle of the month it is worth checking the first 100 metres of scrub that runs north of Dukes Head Passage. It may be behind the fence but this gives the birds a bit more confidence knowing they can feed without being disturbed. It is possible to see Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher amongst good numbers of the other warblers. A short walk along the passage will give you the chance to view the scrape. If conditions are right then there is a chance of Green Sandpiper and Snipe.
The area of small hawthorn that surrounds the aptly named Hawthorn Cottage is another area worth checking for migrants. There is actually no need to look into the garden, just keep an eye on the fence and trees that border it; you could be rewarded with a sight of a quivering red tail of a Common Redstart.
This being one of the best months for migrants you never know what could be waiting for you.
For more bird news check out www.regentsparkbirds.blogspot.com it also covers Bushy Park
- By Tony Duckett
The Woodland Gardens
The long grass areas are to be cut down towards the end of the month. This is part of the grass land management to prevent the area reverting to rough woodland over time.
In the meantime it's worth looking at the Grasses and in particular in the Robensonia Garden where the colours are outstanding.
Birch Glade with its ferns is a peaceful and cool place to visit on a hot August day. If you want a place to enjoy the sun, Fishers Field on the southern side or Canada Glade complete with the Totem Pole are the places to be.