With no predators and approximately 100 births annually, the deer population would increase beyond Bushy Park's carrying capacity without human intervention.
To prevent starvation and malnutrition, the deer are selectively culled during September and November. This ensures a healthy herd of 320 with the correct balance of ages and sexes.
The high point of the rut will soon be over and the lean bellies and hindquarters of the exhausted stags bear witness to the recent deprivation of food. They regain condition by feasting on sweet chestnuts, horse chestnuts and acorns, building up winter fat reserves. Removing chestnuts deprives the deer of essential food.
Please leave the chestnuts for the deer.
Once the summer weather breaks, the soil and air becomes damp with autumn rain allowing fungi to emerge without drying out. Some species can be seen all year round but the abundance and variety are displaying now and last only until the first hard frost.
Fungi are neither plants nor animals - they are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce. Some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, whilst most are not and a few are poisonous.
Collecting mushrooms is forbidden in Bushy Park as doing so will diminish the population within the ecosystem.
By November almost all of our summer visitors will have left. With the park's position by the Thames and the large water bodies in SW London, there is still the chance that a late House Martin or Swallow may fly through. These species follow the rivers and canal systems in London; this allows them to feed as they head south to Africa.
Chiffchaff, a summer visitor and breeder in small numbers in the park, may also be found feeding alongside the Longford River.These birds however, may have bred in north-eastern Europe and have chosen not to continue their migration to southern Europe and northern Africa.This region is where the birds that have bred in the park will have migrated too. The north-east European Chiffchaffs are taking a risk that the temperature in the United Kingdom doesn't dip below freezing for too long during the winter months.
It is also a time to check the park's lakes for the arrival of our less common waterfowl, e.g Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall. The scrape (a shallow grassy pool) viewed from Dukes Head Passage is a favoured location for Teal; as long as it remains ice free also gives you the best chance to view Common Snipe and Water Rail.
Another favourite of the shooting fraternity is the Woodcock; these birds are already arriving by the start of the month but large numbers navigate on clear moonlit nights. London with all its ambient light is never really dark so these birds had better be on the lookout for our local Peregrine Falcons, as checking roof tops where this species hang out has revealed that Woodcock are often taken.
The best time to be out in the park looking for birds is when the wind is blowing from the east or south-east. These winds bring birds from the continent and can produce spectacular movements.
By Tony Duckett
Throughout the year, members of The Royal Parks specialist arboricultural team monitor the trees in the park on a cyclical programme of inspection. The inspection considers the condition of the trees, their integrity from a safety point of view and the effects of any pest and disease.
Tree work may then be prescribed which includes a variety of techniques from shortening of individual branches to felling or monolithing of trees that have died. Arisings and deadwood from this work is kept in the park as far as possible as it is very important habitat for the special creatures that live in it.
This month, a small amount of works are being carried out in the Pheasantry gardens and along the nature trail.
In Fishers Field the star like shiny leaves are starting to turn on the Liquidambar styraciflua "Worplesdon" and are displaying bright vivid autumn colours.
Yew and Camellia cuttings planted last year in the nursery have been successful and Yews have already been planted out in the Gardens so that in a few years time will form a windbreak on the North eastern side of the Gardens to protect them from the cold March winds.
Planting will continue this month in a number of areas with the Pheasantry Car Park being one of them. The leaf clearing has started and will continue until just after Christmas.