Out Now - Wildlife and Places to See in October!
Here you can find out about the wildlife you can seen in Wiltshire and Swindon at the moment. Visit this month's featured site to see a wealth of wildlife, take a look at our identification guide to find out about a species group you might see, and don’t forget to send us in your records!
Three to Spot
Red Deer - Cervus elaphus For the Red deer the rut (breeding season) is now in full swing. Occuring from late September to October stags return to the hind's home ranges and compete for access to hinds by engaging in elaborate displays of dominance including roaring, parallel walks and fighting. Serious injury and death can result between stags of similar size that can not assess dominance by any of the other means. The dominant stag then ensures exclusive mating with the hinds. Red Deer are the largest British land mammal, and are native to Britain having arrived after the last ice age. They are widely distributed and expanding in range and number so you might spot them here in Wiltshire.
Fallow Deer - Dama dama It is now the start of the rut for Fallow Deer. Males and females generally graze separately and groups usually move in single file. They come together during the rut which for this species is in October and November. Bucks (males) defend a rutting stand and make deep groans that can be head over a long distance. During conflict, the escalation of display behaviour in bucks, from groaning and parallel walks to fighting, is in common with other larger species of deer. Introduced by the Normans in the 10th century, Fallow Deer were considered an ornamental species and were protected in Royal Hunting Forests for sport. Escapees from these parks have given rise to the wild populations today.
Bramble - Rubus fruticosus These sprawling shrubs can form very dominant stands up to 3m tall, are spread by bird dispersed seeds and are able to take root at the tip of their thick prickly stems. It is in flower from May to September which are rose-like, white to pink and are crinkly, it fruits at the same time as flowering and the well known berries are shiny black or purple red which are ripe from July to October. The hooked thorns which cover the bramble stems helps to deter grazing animals from eating them, and also supports the plants as it grows by helping it latch onto other vegetation. They grow in a variety of habitats including woodlands, hedges, wasteground and banks thriving best on acidic soils.
This Month's Must See
Wasp Spider - Argiope bruennichiThe bright colouring of the female Wasp Spider is what gives this species its common name, and also makes it unmistakable. Only the females are brightly marked black and yellow. Adults are normally seen from mid-August until October when they are mature and it is at this time that the large webs of the female are seen. In amongst the long grass it weaves its large web that can be up to 30 cms in diameter. This, possibly Mediterranean species was first recorded in England in the 1920s where it has slowly colonised. Find out more.
Autumn Woodland FungiFungi in Wiltshire are most common in ancient deciduous woodlands, where you may see a rich variety of common and rare species. Although some species of fungi appear in spring and a few can be found all year round, October and November are the best months to go on a fungal foray. Find out about the fungi you see this month with our ID guide
October Site Focus – Explore Langley Wood National Nature Reserve
Langley Wood NNR is an extensive tract of ancient, mainly oak, forest. It is 218 hectares in size and contains a variety of native trees including Small-leaved Lime, Sessile and Pedunculate Oak and Hazel. The wood supports many species of plants and animals including Wood Anemone, the Silver-washed Fritillary, Common Lizard and Dormouse as well as several species of bat.
Langley Wood lies between the A36 minor road from Redlynch to Landford, the site is accessible by car.