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 shorter staying summer visitors, becomes very difficult. Early mornings or evenings being the best time as that is when birds maybe leaving or heading towards one of the nearby reservoirs where there tends to be a greater abundance of flying insects.
The early part of the month also offers an opportunity to see Spotted Flycatcher, a once regular park breeder that has become much harder to see.
A bird that will always make your heart beat faster the Hobby can be seen mainly on sunny evenings hawking insects on the western side of the park close to Dukes Head Passage.
If we have a steady run of east to south-easterly winds in the latter part of the month then the first of our winter visitors may turn up. It is possible to see species such as Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch and Wood Pigeon passing over heading in a mainly towards the south-west. The numbers of pigeons seen can be quite spectacular. They tend to be seen in the first hour or two after dawn, on those crisp clear autumnal mornings. Many will end up in Spain having avoided the guns of French hunters as they passed over Pyrenees.
Before the month is over we may have seen the first winter thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwing. These will also be accompanied by large numbers of Blackbirds and slightly fewer Song Thrushes.
For more bird news check out www.regentsparkbirds.blogspot.com 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 has been cut. The aim is to thicken it up in the long term and extent the planting to the whole of the Southern boundary.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 smaller areas for clearance than last year.