October wildlife

A good time for bird watching as winter visitors mainly arrive this month to feed on the ripening berries. The last of our summer visiting birds migrate south for the winter. Other creatures start to hibernate. A great diversity of fungi can be found.

Flora

Ivy flowering, providing nectar for late butterflies, particularly Red Admirals.

Many flowers can still be found, particularly weed species such as Shepherd’s Purse, White Dead-nettle and spurges.

An abundance of berries in the hedgerows: Hawthorn, Black Bryony, Spindle, Sloes and Mistletoe berries should be showing by now.

Sweet chestnut is fruiting.

Conkers fall from Horse Chestnut trees.

Deciduous trees show splendid autumn colours.

Birds

Waxwings arrive – watch for them feeding on Rowan berries, Pyracantha and Cotoneaster.

A peak month for Tawny Owls hooting as they establish territories for next year.

Young Barn Owls are leaving home in search of their own territories.

Watch for flocks of Siskin feeding in Alder trees over rivers – there may be a Redpoll amongst them.

Brambling appear – watch for them amongst flocks of Chaffinch.

Bewick’s swans are coming in – watch for flocks flying over from Siberia on their way to Slimbridge.

Redwing and Fieldfare arrive now – a favourite winter prey of Sparrowhawks.

Stonechats arrive and may be seen passing through.

Whinchat, Wheatear and Redstart leave this month for warmer climes, as do Swallows and House Martins.

A peak month for Skylarks singing.

Insects

Red Admirals still feeding.

Earwigs, Ladybirds and Queen Wasps go into hibernation.

Mammals

Bats still forming male leks, mating taking place and active feeding prior to winter, weather permitting. Hibernation sites being sought, increasing time spent torpid, according to weather.

Hedgehogs hibernate.

In cold weather Dormice may start to hibernate.

Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish

Frogs, Toads and Grass Snakes hibernate.

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