Wildlife in the Parkland - Winter
Long winter walks in Tatton will provide many health benefits, not only for our physical health, but connecting with our natural surroundings is proven to be beneficial for our mental health too. There is still plenty to see and explore during the winter months out in the parkland.
The deer have now finished the rut and moulted into their winter coats. The hairs of which are hollow allowing it to hold air which warms up and acts as insulation. They are now fed by the ranger team most days with carrots, and haylage when needed, if the weather gets colder.
Bird migration takes place during autumn. Our summer visitors leave us and we are joined by visitors from the north. Thrushes such as redwing and fieldfare arrive from Scandinavia and the number and variety of wildfowl on the meres increase. Passing autumn migrants could include wheatears, hobbies or maybe a late moving osprey passing over.
Recent interesting sightings included a spotted flycatcher and wheatear. Also, two shelduck with two chicks on Melchett Mere and three terns over Tatton mere. A group of ring-necked parakeets flying over the park in June was an unusual sight here. Although they are now common in parks in nearby South Manchester, they have yet to get a foothold at Tatton, but it is only a matter of time.
Winter is the time of year that we undertake our coppicing work in Millennium Wood. The stand of Hazel close to the gate is managed as a small coppice on a 5/6-year rotation. This is one of the earliest known forms of managing woodlands and involves cutting broadleaf trees down to the ground at regular intervals (from 5 to 25 years, depending on the species and its desired use). New shoots will sprout up from the cut stump, eventually providing manageable straight poles. We use these within Tatton primarily for hedging stakes, bean and pea sticks but other uses including hurdles and fencing materials.
One of the added benefits of coppicing within a woodland is that it promotes biodiversity. There will always be areas (or coupes) of coppice at different stages to provide habitat for a range of wildlife.
After a slow start, this years’ butterfly survey proved interesting, with generally increased numbers and a couple of new species. A total of twenty-one walks were undertaken, opening on 1st April with two comma being the first recorded species, and closing on 14th October with comma, red admiral and speckled wood being the last to be seen on transect. A total of 1,945 individuals were recorded this year, up from 770 in 2022, the most productive day being 24th June when 381 butterflies were seen. Meadow brown made up most of the overall total with 1,095 individual recordings made, followed by gatekeeper (375) and ringlet (164).
Most species did show increases on last year, although only one individual small copper was seen this time and sadly painted lady was totally absent, although a single butterfly was seen off transect on 29th October. After several years of being seen off transect, the common blue finally graced a couple of our walks and 4 individuals were seen. We are also confident that we have got Essex skippers mixed in with our resident small skipper population, which would take the species list up to a respectable 20.
Compiled 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, 16MB), 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.