Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis)
This damselfly has been seen along the Beverley Brook and around Pen Ponds but it is one of Britain’s new colonist species and also fairly recent to south-east England. Willow Emerald Damselflies fly quite late in the season, with a peak in records from August to October, though occasional individuals may be seen in November in favourable years.
It is quite similar to other Emerald damselflies and has a metallic green body but it can be distinguished by the pale wing-spots and characteristic patterning on the sides of the thorax. At rest it holds its wings away from its body, unlike other damselflies, and the Willow Emerald has a characteristic habit of spending much time up in the trees.
The female lays eggs into the branches of soft-barked trees and shrubs overhanging water such as alders so not just willows, despite their name!
Look carefully at the bark of trees and at the end of branches where the males and females will typically perch, hanging off at an angle of 45o with their wings half open.
A new 3 metre Plastic Downstream Defender III System and access chamber has now been installed onto an existing surface water drain next to Roehampton Cafe Car Park. All the works will be completed at the beginning of September, which will then prevent contaminated road derived sediment from reaching the Beverley Brook.
Early autumn brings lower temperatures and an increase in the dampness, which allows the fruiting bodies of Fungi to emerge without drying out.
Over 400 different types of fungi have been identified in Richmond Park, including Parasol mushrooms that can grow to the size of a saucer and the nationally rare Oak Polypore. Some species can be seen all year round but the abundance and variety that are displaying now last only until the first hard frost.
Fungi are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within decaying wood and plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce.
Fungi are ecologically important, as they provide food and habitat to numerous insects and other animals and have a complex relationship with plants by supplying nutrients to their roots.
Whilst some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, many are not, but it is strictly forbidden to collect and pick fungi in the park. It is also a criminal offence so please respect the signs and do not pick the mushrooms.
Most of the stags are now well into the process of what we call clean antler and fallow bucks come in to clean antler in the first week of September. This means that all of the velvet covering their newly grown antlers has now been rubbed off to reveal the hard antler underneath, which is bone.
Most of the hinds (female Red deer) will now to start split up around the park with their young calves to build up their fat reserves before the winter months. They will feed on the grass and leaves off trees as well as horse chestnuts, acorns and sweet chestnuts, which form an important part of their diet. Therefore visitors are reminded to not pick or remove any fallen chestnuts from the park.
The hinds also start to come into season towards the middle of September, which is then followed by the rut; this is when the stags bellow across the park trying to attract as many females as possible.
September and October are therefore very important months so please respect the deer and these natural behaviours by keeping at least 50 meters away and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
Park Road Closures
Richmond Park will be closed to traffic on 17 September 2017 for the Descente London Duathlon / RUN10 event.