Winter is on it's way, which means the wildlife we see around the Park is starting to change. The summer species are now pretty much gone (although never say never with wildlife!) and the winter species are slowly starting to arrive. 

The Cattle Egret (photographed above) is still around on Heron Meadow, and we now know it roosts with the Cormorants on the island in Overton Lake. The last couple of nights it has been joined by a small group of Little Egrets too, so let’s hope that group continues to grow in size. An Osprey was seen at the beginning of the month passing over on route south for the winter, and a couple of Mandarin ducks were around for a day or so too (shown in the photo). Some other feathered autumnal highlights include: 

  • Cetti’s warbler
  • Kingfisher
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Redwing
  • Fieldfare
  • Lapwing
  • Pintail
  • Pochard
  • Red Crested Pochard
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Tufted duck
  • Water Rail

 Other October highlights have included:

  • Four species of bat made an appearance on the bat walks – Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s & Serotine.
  • An otter has been seen more regularly again around Gunwade Lake and on the river, so they may be returning for the winter.
  • A Clouded Yellow butterfly was spotted near the Pyramid sculpture, which was a first record for Ferry Meadows (certainly in the last 20 years).
  • Unfortunately wildlife sightings aren’t always positive. A Chinese Mitten Crab has been spotted and confirmed in the Rowing Lake at Thorpe Meadows. They are an invasive, non-native species that are spread around the UK waterways, and have been recorded in increasing numbers in the Lower Nene catchment area. Summer conditions were obviously good for them this year as the Environment Agency have reported a big increase in numbers this season. For now, not a lot is being done to control this species, although otters are thought to actually be helping keep numbers in check so it isn’t all bad news!