It is usual for Bushy Park's deer to give birth in late May and early June. The young are not ready to follow their mothers for one or two weeks and hide in dense bracken, with their mothers grazing in the vicinity.
Deer are giving birth before the bracken growth is high. Bracken is important to the deer to hide their young. The lack of shelter will mean an anxious period for the young mothers. It is not advisable to walk your dog in the park during this time. If you choose to, at your own risk, please keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park where you are close to exit gates.
If pursued by a deer, let go of the lead. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them. If a Red or Fallow Deer approaches you it is probably because she has a calf somewhere nearby. Walking away from her may inadvertently mean that you are walking towards the calf causing her to be more defensive. The preferred course of action would be to retrace your footsteps, back the way you came and take a wide berth on a different track.
Caution – Lyme disease
The warm weather and plant growth provides cover for ticks that can attach themselves to deer, dogs or humans, potentially causing Lyme disease.
Whilst the chances of contracting the disease are low, symptoms can be serious so it's worth taking sensible precautions. Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents can help to prevent ticks.
If you find a tick on you and develop cold/flu symptoms or find a rash develops it is precautionary to tell your doctor. Dogs can be prevented from getting ticks by using drops supplied in pet shops or vets. Leaflets are available from Bushy Park Office or contact NHS 111 Service or see their website.
June is a month when nearly all our summer visiting migrants will have arrived in the United Kingdom. However if the weather has been against them there could be a few stragglers. A species that often arrives late and is worth looking out for is the Spotted Flycatcher once a common parkland species. By now all the species of tits will have left their nests and Blackbirds, Robins and Thrushes could well be incubating their second clutch of eggs. The skies on warm calm days but particularly during the evenings will be filled with insects. The smaller species will attract Swifts, Swallows and House Martins, the larger one's i.e. Mayfly, Damselfly and Dragonfly will attract one of our top park birds of prey, the Hobby. As well as eating these insects they will eat the birds and even the bats that are attracted to the abundant supply of insects.
For more bird news check out The Regent's Park Birds Blog it also covers Bushy Park. By Tony Duckett
June will see the last of the Rhododendron flowering with Azaleas continuing to the middle of the month. The yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) is in abundance in the margins of Fishers Pond but is also dotted throughout the Woodland.
The new bog garden near the Gunnera Glade entrance is worth looking at especially Gunnera manicata which is particularly spectacular.
Grass is being cut at a higher level in areas of heavy usage to help keep it green as well as protecting it against the strength of the sun. All spring flowering bulbs are dying back – the grass is left uncut to allow the goodness to go back into the bulbs.