Deer rut advice for walkers
The deer rut really gets under way in October and the advice given last month and on park posters continues to be important. We often receive reports where dogs sustain injuries from deer, as well as deer being chased by dogs sometimes with fatal consequences.
We recommend walking your dog outside the park during October. If you choose, at your own risk, to walk your dog in the park at these times, it is advisable to keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park, close to exit gates. Even if you don’t have a dog, keep at least 50m from the deer and stay alert.
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 the park as doing so will diminish the population and deprives other wildlife of its habitat and food.
By the end of September most of our summer visitors, park breeders such as Common Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Swallow or migrating birds from further north in the United Kingdom and Europe will now have departed on their long journeys to Sub-Saharan Africa. There is still a chance that a few stragglers may be found feeding up on the last of the blackberries or the few insects that haven’t yet died as the temperatures begin to drop.
As this first wave of migrants move off it is then the turn of the hardier species that have bred in Scandinavia or Eastern Europe to head west in our direction. These are species that having already travelled thousands of miles may choose to overwinter in the UK. They will stay as long as there are no prolonged cold spells and they are able to find enough food.
The first signs that tell you that autumn is on the way is when you hear the ‘seep seep’ call of the Meadow Pipit. This is their contact call that keeps the small flocks together as they head south west. They are closely followed by Starlings, Chaffinches, Redwings and a species that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought moved great distances, the Wood Pigeon. In fact on clear frosty nights with the wind in their favour, this species leave the Scandinavian coastline in their thousands and head out over the North Sea. They fly at a great height cutting across the south east corner of the UK with Spain being their intended destination. Many of these will not make it as French hunters will be waiting for them as they cross the Pyrenees. These are just the forerunners with other species to follow.
- Tony Duckett
The Woodland Gardens
Stream banks are being tidied up for the winter to allow them to flow when the leaf fall starts in earnest next month as they have a tendency to block.
If the conditions are right the leaves will start to turn at the end of the month. This gives interesting colours in the Gardens and in particular in Fishers Field. Shrubs from our nursery will also be planted in various locations within the gardens.
Birch Glade has just had its annual tidy up and is well worth a visit.