Wildlife this month - October

Bird migration:

The autumn migration steps up in pace during October, with the birds coming to the UK this month including:

  • Jack Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Snow Bunting

The mass migration of the winter thrushes that began last month will continue as more redwings and fieldfares arrive from the north. These species migrate at night and can often be heard calling as they fly overhead.

Species leaving us for warmer climes include:

  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Sandwich Terns
  • Common Sandpiper

There are still plenty of birds on the move and the opportunity remains to see unusual species on passage.

Trees & woodland:

This is a good month for acorns and hazel nuts, so squirrels and jays will be busy filling their larders for the winter. Meanwhile ash, sycamore and field maple trees will disperse their winged seeds. 

Autumn is a good time for fungi and the woods and pastures provide good hunting grounds. 

Hedgerows:

Hedgerows are full of fruits and these will be increasingly consumed by foraging birds as the first frosts begin to bite.

Keep an eye on the blackberries of the elder, rowan berries, haws (on the hawthorn hedgerows), hips (on dog rose), sloes (on blackthorn), spindle berries (on spindle trees) and the red berries of the guelder rose, as well as blackberries. All of these will provide an early winter feast for wildlife.

Deer:

October is the month of the rut and, in areas where deer are numerous, the males will be calling their challenges to rivals. The Red Deer is Britain’s largest land animal and jousting males are an impressive site as they lock antlers.

Flowers:

Most flowers have gone to seed by October but a few scabious, meadow sweet and bindweed flowers may be found. A seasonal display is provided by wild clematis: although it has small and unexciting flowers its seed heads are spectacular and fill the hedges and woodland edges with ‘old man’s beard’.