Here in Great Britain you can’t help but have noticed now that autumn is with us. There is a chill in the air, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are turning gorgeous shades of russet and brown as they fall. We asked our resident wildlife expert, Geoff, for his top tips for wildlife watching in the autumn.
Clash of the titans
The autumn is deer rut season. This is when breeding starts to take place. Testosterone fuelled males (stags) clash antlers, demonstrating their prowess in order that they get to mate with the hareem of females (hinds). The fights between the males begin vocally, pace parallel to their opponent before they lock antlers and go into battle. Watching red deer (the largest deer species in the United Kingdom) is an incredible sight. It can be dangerous though so take care. You may be eager to get the perfect photo – but do keep at a respectful distance from them. For those in London, the Royal parks of Richmond and Bushy offer great opportunities to see this happen. Other good spots include the Cairngorms, Exmoor, Margam Country Park in Neath Port Talbot, Minsmere in Suffolk and Cheshire’s Lyme Park.
If you have a dog and are walking them through any parkland where there are deer – please make sure you have them on a lead around the deer during the rut season.
One of the greatest sights in nature is that of a starling murmuration. Whilst dispersed during the day, starlings come together at dusk to roost for the night in large numbers (at peak season this can be in the millions – although often just thousands of birds). Before settling in for the night they form stunning patterns in the sky – seemingly moving as one whole unit to avoid any predators looking for an evening snack. Great places to watch a murmuration include the old West Pier on Brighton’s sea front, the Somerset levels, Leighton Moss in Lancashire and Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire.
Autumn brings with it seasonal visitors to our shores to spend the winter months. For the avid birdwatcher in you – keep an eye out for the arrival of redwings, fieldfares and pink footed geese.
Give a helping hand
For some of our wildlife species in Great Britain, the autumn is the time that they are getting ready for winter. Squirrels, hedgehogs and badgers will be preparing themselves for the winter ahead by caching food and building up their own fat reserves to get them through the much colder months. What extra food you are able to put out for your local wildlife will be much apprciated.
If you have nest boxes up – these should now be cleaned out ready to be used as a roost site for birds over the winter. They’ll be glad of somewhere to shelter on any bad weather days and cold nights.
What are your top tips for autumnal wildlife watching? Share them with us on her or via our social media pages (links below).
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