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Wildlife News: Autumn 2017

 

 Autumn is the most fascinating time to study the deer herds here at Tatton. The annual rut will be taking place when the males compete to mate with the females with the strongest, largest animals being the most successful. Their behaviour begins to change at the beginning of September when they split off from other males and start to wallow in muddy pools. They will adorn their antlers with grass which is picked up by thrashing the antlers on the ground. All this “decoration” makes the animal look more intimidating. The males then begin to call. The Red stags have a deep bellowing call that can carry for some considerable distance while the Fallow bucks have a rasping call delivered while throwing their head back. All of this gesturing both physical and vocal is a way to attract females and to ward off rival males. The last resort is an actual fight where antlers clash and the show of strength decides the victor.

The different types of habitat and tree species in the parkland provide a home for the various types of fungi to be found here. Many of them are host specific and have a symbiotic relationship with them. Autumn is the best time to look for them as their fruiting bodies emerge, these release spores which spread and enable the fungi to reproduce. The impressive list of species found here is due to careful management– namely realising the importance of fallen and standing dead wood and leaving it in-situ where possible.

 

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Bird migration is now underway. Our summer visitors are moving south and we are joined by species either on route southwards or birds which choose to spend the winter with us. Wheatears are now moving through as are Meadow Pipits. Pink Footed Geese can sometimes be seen passing overhead and an autumn Hobby is always possible over the meres. A recent star bird during the summer was a Red Kite, now common in some parts of Britain, they remain rare in Cheshire. Kingfishers have been successful breeding in the park this year as have Ravens which have now increased to three pairs. One of our most important breeding birds, the Green Woodpecker, has also done well with about four pairs nesting. This red listed species relies on ant hills for food and holes in dead wood to nest in, both of which are plentiful here at Tatton.

In conjunction with the BEACON project, our estate volunteers are conducting sampling of some of Tatton’s water courses. The testing is fairly rudimentary, but is able to measure levels of phosphates and nitrates in the water. The results are then correlated by the BEACON project, who are carrying out sampling throughout the River Bollin catchment area.

This autumn and early winter, Tatton’s ranger team are offering a variety of walks and activities suited for all ages with a variety of themes.

October sees the arrival of the deer rut, a fantastic time to observe our Red and Fallow deer in their full splendour. Three guided walks are available during late October – they provide a unique opportunity to view/ photograph the deer in the parkland, while learning about Tatton’s herds from the Rangers.rangers2

Also in October, the rangers are joining with fungus expert ‘Fungal Punk Dave’ to discover the mysterious fungal world within Tatton. This is a fascinating guided walk not to be missed. The purpose of the walk is to enjoy their beauty and not designed  for collectors or foragers. Young or old, two or four legged, all are welcome on this fun and unique walk!

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, please visit the our events listings or contact our education team on 01625 374428. All events need to be pre-booked.

You may be interested to follow the rangers’ progress as they deliver an insight into Tatton’s secret wildlife on twitter. Hidden trail-cam footage and the rangers’ photographs are regularly tweeted! Search @tatton_park

 

 

 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.

Volunteering with the Rangers

If you are interested in helping our Rangers maintain our estate, please email clemency.west@cheshireeast.gov.uk,tattonrangers@cheshireeast.gov.uk or give us a call on 01625 374414.