Deer Rut – Advice for Park Visitors
The stags and bucks now sport fully-grown antlers. They may be seen thrashing them about in the vegetation to build up their neck muscles, as towards the end of the month they will start establishing territories for the rut.
The deer also indulge in dust wallows to assist the shedding of their summer coats as their winter ones grow through. They are vulnerable to disturbance during the rut and the large number of spectators can affect them.
Recently the numbers of owners choosing to walk their dogs in Bushy Park has increased considerably. Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner. This is particularly so during the rutting (September – October) and the birthing (May – July) seasons.
We recommend walking your dog outside the park at these times.
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.
Migration is in full flow with those summer visitors that have nested further north in the United Kingdom now joined by those from Northern Europe.
The chances of seeing Common Swift, one of our shortest staying summer visitors becomes very difficult. The early mornings or evenings is the best time as this is when birds may be leaving or heading towards one of the nearby reservoirs where they have been feeding on an abundance of flying insects.
The early part of the month also offers an opportunity to see Spotted Flycatcher; a once regular park breeder, this species has become much harder to see.
Migration is so dependent on having winds from the east pushing birds across the North Sea, so far this autumn this hasn’t happened.
In recent years the park has been lucky to have a pair of Hobbies turn up with their young to feed on dragonflies and small birds like swifts over the Brewhouse meadow or grassland south of Upper Lodge Road. Unfortunately, possibly due to the heavy showers in spring, local pairs seem to have failed to breed. They might have failed to breed but for the first time in a long time a pair of Grey Heron’s has bred by one of the park’s ponds.
For more bird news, check out The Regent's Park Birds Blog it also covers sightings from Bushy Park.
- By Tony Duckett
The Woodland Gardens
This month sees the return of the green grass after a dry August. The last of the meadow areas are being cut to prevent the pernicious weeds from taking over and trees establishing in the long term leaving suitable habitat for moths and butterflies. The water courses of the stream are being cleared to allow the water to flow. The wild life hedge on the southern boundary of the Pheasantry had a light trim with the aim to cut it back early next year, leaving berries for the birds over the winter months. The rose hips will provide beautiful winter colour and at the same time food for the birds.
The annual removal of the Rhododendron ponticum will have started by now, this year there are to be small areas for clearance than last year.