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Wildlife News


Autumn 2016

wildlife news 2016

Now is arguably the best time to see birds in the park as migration is taking place. Summer visitors are now on the move and heading south, while winter visitors are joining us.

Two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers have nested in the park this year. The pair above were photographed here by Tatton member of staff Maria Freel. This nationally declining species seems to have had a good breeding season. Another declining species, the Green Woodpecker, has again nested in the park and Tatton is a stronghold for them and can boast several pairs. This is the time to look out for a Stonechat and maybe a passing wader on the banks of the mere. A late Hobby is always a possibility in early autumn and the call of the Meadow Pipit will be familiar as they move from their breeding grounds. The arrival of Redwing and Fieldfare is a sure sign autumn is here, these visitors from Scandinavia can be seen eating berries on shrubs and trees and on the areas of shorter grass near to the mansion.

 A recent survey of all the ponds within the parkland boundary has revealed yet another rarity. The Short Winged Cone Head is a species of cricket that can be found in reeds and fen habitat. During the Tour of Britain set-up one of these lovely creatures was found on the ranger’s land rover! These secretive insects usually wait for darkness and then begin to “sing” to advertise their presence to prospective females and rival males. They can, like moths, be attracted to strong lighting at night. After taking a break during the maternity season, the South Lancashire Bat Group have resumed their trapping surveys in the park. Good numbers were caught on two nights in August, with all of Tatton’s nine species present. This included a Nathusius Pipistrelle which the group had wringed last year. All captured bats appeared to be in good condition, which was encouraging news given the wet spring and summer we have had. 

This autumn and early winter, Tatton’s ranger team are offering a variety of walks and activities suited for all ages. October sees the arrival of the deer rut, a fantastic time to observe the deer in their full splendour. Guided deer walks are being run in October – they provide a unique opportunity to view/ photograph the deer in their natural surroundings, while learning about Tatton’s herds from the rangers. Also in October, fungus expert ‘Fungal Punk Dave’ is running a walk to discover the mysterious fungal world within Tatton. Species will not be picked for culinary use. Young or old, two or four legged, all are welcome on this fun and unique walk! Find out more here

In the run up to Christmas, Tatton’s ranger team are inviting people to watch the fabulous spectacle of the daily deer feed. Take a trailer ride to get a close look at hundreds of deer feeding in their beautiful natural setting. For further details on any of the activities contact our education team on 01625 374428. All events need to be pre-booked.

Now is the time of the deer rut. Males can be seen wallowing in mud pools and adorning their antlers with foliage. Their bellowing and belching calls last way into the night. All of this is to ward off other males and to attract females. The last resort is actual fighting where antlers lock together in a show of strength, the victor keeps more females in his harem meaning the strongest genes of the fittest, strongest animals are passed down to more females benefitting the herd as a whole. Please keep your distance from the deer and do not approach them this interferes with their natural behaviour and they can act aggressively when disturbed.

Complied by Tatton’s Ranger Team

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Free Parkland Explorer Booklet - Compiled by Tatton’s ranger team

Download your own copy of the Parkland Explorer Booklet (PDF, 1.5MB), designed by Tatton's Rangers!

Learn how to be an expert tracker, twitcher and observer of all the beautiful, natural elements of Tatton Park. This is a fantastic way for children and their families to explore the Parkland, with 16 pages of fun activities. The booklet can be downloaded here (link through to parkland explorer page). You can also pick up a free copy of this booklet.

Volunteering with the Rangers

For further information on volunteering, please contact the ranger team: mark.sills@cheshireeast.gov.uk or call 01625 374414 to chat to someone.

The work undertaken by all our volunteers is extremely valuable and much appreciated, allowing us to undertake a wide variety of tasks and projects.