During the summer months Tatton’s deer have a plentiful supply of grass to eat enabling the females to be in a good condition to have their young at this time of year. The peak calving time is the middle of June. The females will move away to a quiet place where they will have their young from the standing position, literally ‘dropping’ their calves and fawns to the ground. They are licked clean by the mother and left alone to ‘lie up’ in a bog of nettles or by a fallen branch. To prevent attacks from predators, they have no scent and lie still during the day. The mother will return to feed it when it is safe to do so. If you come across a young deer on the Parkland please do not touch it, its mother knows where it is. Any interference could lead to the calf or fawn being abandoned.
While the females are busy calving out on the Parkland, the males split off into small groups making the most of the abundance of grass, gaining bodyweight and growing their antlers in preparation for the autumn rut. You will also notice that the deer have now moulted into their summer coats. The Red Deer have the distinctive russet coloration from which they are named and the smaller Fallow Deer have the beautiful speckled, lighter coat which makes them easy to distinguish.
With the increase of visitors and events on the Parkland over the summer period, many of the deer will take refuge in the deer enclosure. This area is closed to the public and provides a sanctuary area for the herd so that they can have their young in peace or just move into the area during particularly busy days to seek solace. This area is of vital importance for the health of the herd as deer will not fare well under stressful conditions. The deer enclosure, although closed to the public, can be viewed from the ‘deer leap’ to the north of the mill pond area.
Summer is also the time that wildflowers are abundant out in the Parkland. Take a closer look among the grasses and you may see the yellow Tormentil or the beautiful blue Harebell. In some of the woodlands Wood Anemone with its delicate white flower carpets the floor. Orchids can be found in some of the rougher areas and Purple Loosestrife and Yellow Flag Iris favour the edges of the meres.
The wildflowers and grasses in turn help our butterflies, providing them with food plants to help them in the caterpillar and adult stages of their life. Most common species are found here including Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Gatekeepers and Holly Blue.
Bats will now emerge and Tatton provides a home for many species, this is mainly due to our dead wood policy where dead trunks and limbs are left standing where the fall wherever possible. The holes and crevices are perfect roost sites for bats.
The birdlife of the Parkland in summer is busy with the important job of nesting. The long daylight hours along with a plentiful food supply is the best time for them. The spring dawn chorus quietens as they try to be less conspicuous preventing predators from stealing eggs or chicks. Our resident birds have had the advantage of setting up territory early and therefore laying eggs early, many of these species will have more than one clutch in a season. The migrant birds have now arrived, the first this year as expected being a Sand Martin over the Tatton Mere on 14th March followed by a Chiffchaff on25th March. The Herons at Higmere have fared well with 12 occupied nests; the nests are counted every year by one of our rangers. The information is part of a wider national survey for the British Trust for Ornithology. Other interesting species noted recently were two Hobbies seen chasing insects over Tatton Mere and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. If you look on either of the meres over the summer months you will see stripy Great Crested Grebe chicks, sometimes being carried on a parent’s back. These ‘humbugs’ give their presence away initially by their constant calling to the parents for food. The Mute Swans have cygnets now and we have had Greylag Geese breed here too. Egyptian Geese will also have young in the park and will be seen more regularly as the chicks grow.
Tatton has many ponds scattered around the estate and summer is the best time to look around them to find dragonflies. Again, many species can be found here but arguably one of the most stunning is the Banded Demoiselle which is here in abundance. The flocks of rare breed sheep that live on the park have now all lambed and the Hebridean sheep have been sheared. The Soay flock are not sheared as they lose their wool naturally.
During the summer, Tatton’s Ranger team are offer various walks/activities, with a range of themes to cover many interests. Three guided evening deer walks are being run in June and July focusing on the calving season – they provide a fantastic opportunity to view/photograph the Red and Fallow deer in their beautiful natural setting, while learning about Tatton’s herds from the Rangers who are able to share their extensive knowledge. During the summer holidays we are running a nature day, hunting for mini-beasts in the Parkland’s pond and woodlands and taking a trailer ride to get a close look at the deer. In early September, there is a guided bat walk led by one of the Rangers who specialise in the subject which allows people to see and hear the furry fliers as they hunt for their evening meals.
For further details on any of the activities, please contact our Education department on 01625 374428 or visit the our events pages. All events need to be pre-booked.
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.