The autumn equinox is on 23rd September, which is when day and night are of equal length, but autumn is also a time of plenty with berries, fruits, nuts and seeds in abundance. The colours start to change, mist hangs over the Park in the mornings, there are often spectacular sunsets, some birds arrive and other birds leave. However many species, including the deer, take advantage of the wild harvest to build up fat reserves for the colder months ahead, for migration or hibernation.
Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara):
The Common (or viviparous) lizard is the most common and widespread reptile in the UK. It is found across many habitats including the grasslands of Richmond Park, as it likes open, sunny places and is usually found in dry, exposed locations where dense cover exists nearby and where it can feed predominantly on spiders and insects. The adults are approximately 15cm in length and are most commonly, a shade of brown with patterns of spots or stripes. Mating takes place in spring and instead of laying eggs, the females give birth to live inch-long young in August. They hibernate in September or October and go underground or in log piles, but with the warmer weather, you may still be lucky to see one basking this month!
There are over 400 different types of fungi in the Park, including Parasol mushrooms and the nationally rare Oak Polypore, which can be seen until the first hard frost. Fungi are ecologically important, as they have a complex relationship with plants by supplying nutrients to their roots, and they also provide food and habitat to many insects and other animals. 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 any mushrooms.
This month is when thestags and fallow bucks come in to ‘clean antler’, which is when all of the velvet covering their newly grown antlers has been rubbed off to reveal the bone, which is the hard antler underneath. The hinds with their young calves will start to split up around the Park to build up their fat reserves, and will feed on the grass, leaves off trees and horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts and acorns, which form an important part of their diet. Therefore please 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, so respect the deer and these behaviours by keeping at least 50 meters away and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
Richmond Park Open Day:
This year Richmond Park will be holding an Open Day on Sunday 23rd Septemberfrom 11am to 4pm. It will be opportunity for members of the public to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes to manage the Park as well as an insight into the huge array of wildlife that lives within this important National Nature Reserve. The day will be packed full of fun things to see and do such as rural crafts including wood turning, information on the history and wildlife of the park, shire horses, WW1 displays and activities, vintage cars and a chance to meet the fire brigade. There will also be guided walks, charcoal burning demonstrations, metal work displays and much more! Whether you want to learn more about wildlife or the many different ways you can experience true wilderness on the edge of a major city, this day is for you!
From Monday 3rd September 2018, there will be road resurfacing and repairs taking place around Richmond Park for approximately 6 weeks. This means that some gates will be closed for a period of time. For up to date and further information, please visit our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RichmondParkLondon/ or contact the Park Office on: 0300 061 2200.