Autumn is the time of the rut, the most interesting time to look at the behaviour of our deer. They become very vocal and will wallow in mud. (See the video captured by a Ranger here) Antlers decorated with grass and mud covered coats are signs of aggression and are a precursor to actual fighting, which is a last resort. It is important not to venture too closely to the deer, as this will disturb their natural behaviour.
Bird migration is now well underway. Summer visitors leave us, heading south. We are now joined by birds which have spent the summer breeding further north, joining us for our relatively milder winter. Now is a good time to find something unusual passing through. Stonechats will often be found perched by the side of the meres and large numbers of Meadow Pipits should be seen. Early autumn is a good time to see Hobby hunting dragonflies over the meres or Tatton’s numerous ponds before they migrate.
Green Woodpeckers continue to do well here and have again nested in the park this year with many fledgling birds being seen. Barn Owls are also suspected of nesting here and four new Barn Owl boxes have been erected in the park to provide extra sites for them. Another twenty one new bird boxes have also been put up to attract various target species. Earlier in the year an Egyptian Goose nest containing eggs was found by a member of staff. The nest was later inspected by Cheshire county bird recorder Hugh Pulsford, but was found to have been predated. This would probably be the first recorded breeding attempt in Cheshire. In early August four recently fledged young were with two adult birds in the park and probably bred in the park. Egyptian Geese are a feral species found predominantly in East Anglia.
Bats will continue to emerge during warmer autumn evenings as insect prey will be on the wing. Tatton has proven to be a fantastic place for bats through ongoing survey work being carried out by South Lancashire Bat Group. Uncommon species have been discovered, nine species have now been recorded here at Tatton. In general, mushrooms and toadstools growing in grassland fruit in late summer or autumn, while those that grow on wood tend to fruit later. Autumn and early winter are good times to see interesting and attractive species in Tatton’s many predominantly deciduous woodlands. Some appear on living trees (as parasites) while others are important in breaking down dead and decaying matter. In general, the fungi need damp conditions in order to produce their fruit bodies and wet woodlands provide the most ideal setting.Some attractive and abundant species to look out for in the park include bracket fungi such as Chicken of the Woods and Beefsteak Fungus or Parasol mushrooms and Fly Agaric. Many species are poisonous and under no circumstances should fungi be removed from the park for culinary purposes. ‘Fungalpunk Dave’, a renowned fungi expert, is leading a guided walk through Tatton on Sunday 11th October. One year over 150 species were found on this walk! Young or old, two or four legged, all are welcome on this fun and unique walk (booking essential) The Rangers will also be running a series of special guided walks looking closely at the deer rut. See details & how to book here
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.