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Wildlife News: Spring 2017

 

The long awaited spring is here. The deer will now be able to graze on succulent fresh grass and will improve in condition after the lean months of winter. Supplementary feeding will continue each day until new grass growth will suffice.

The lengthening daylight hours will now trigger the male deer to cast their antlers. The largest Red Deer are first to  drop ,followed by the Fallow later. They drop from a point called the pedicle, this area shows traces of blood when first cast. The new antlers will begin to grow immediately, they are soft to the touch and are now “in velvet”. They will continue to grow over the  forthcoming months ready for the rut in autumn.

The deer will now begin to moult into their summer coats. Initially they will look scruffy as the transition takes place, but eventually the beautiful russet colour of the Red Deer and speckled coat of the Fallow will come through.

 Deer at Parkland

The first sighting of a Sand Martin over Tatton Mere is a sure sign spring is here. This is usually the first summer migrant to arrive and will be seen hunting emerging insects over the surface of the water. Later they will be joined by House Martins and Swallows. Now is the time to listen to  the dawn chorus as birds are in full voice attracting mates or deterring rivals from a defended territory. Woodlands are the best place as this is where song is needed most to communicate. Our resident birds are joined by birds from afar including members of the warbler family which are song specialists. One of which is the Chiffchaff, which is onomatopoeic, it sounds just like its name! The intensity  of sound builds up to a cacophony in May bringing joy to a spring day. Look out for the magnificent sight of Great Crested Grebes displaying on the meres. Recent interesting bird sightings include Stonechat, Woodcock and a magnificent Little Egret seen flying over Tatton Mere.

 Deer and Flowers

 

Woodlands are often transformed in spring by the arrival of wildflowers, making the most of the light reaching the ground before the fully canopy emerges. Bluebells are early flowering (mid April to late May) and half of the world’s population are found here in the UK! Dog Wood provides a spectacular carpet of bluebells and the recent thinning works should encourage further flowering with the opening of glades and decreased canopy cover. The flowers provide an early nectar source for bees, butterflies and other insects. Early butterflies to look out for include the Brimstone and the Holly Blue. Other woodland flowers to look out for include: Wood Anenome, Marsh Marigold and Lesser Celandine.

Foxes are numerous in the park and will be having cubs in May, they can now be seen out and about during daylight hours. Bats will begin to emerge on the warmer evenings and Tatton’s magnificent old trees provide plenty of places for them to roost.

For children who are interested in discovering the park on 2 wheels, why not join the Rangers for a ‘Cycling Boredom Buster’, exploring ‘out of bounds’ farmland trails and woodland singletrack. (Wed 5 April and Tues 30 May). Booking essential - please click below, or phone 01625 374428 for more information.

Wed 5 April - 10.00am - 1.30pm

Tues 30 May - 10.00am - 1.30pm

 

 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.