October is a busy time for wildlife as they make their various preparations for winter. Birds are on the move, some of them, such as starlings, beginning to form large flocks. Wading bird numbers are building up in places like Poole Harbour, Weymouth’s wetlands and Christchurch Harbour. Brownsea Island’s lagoon is one of the best places to see large gatherings of wading birds and it holds the record for the largest avocet flock ever! Take a look at the video below to watch one feeding.
The exceptional views of internationally important numbers of birds using the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve on the National Trust owned island feature in the new online guide Great places to see thousands of birds. The island is open until 4th November. See the guide and download for free at www.wildlifetrusts.org/megaflocks.
Small birds such as tits, nuthatches other woodland birds are joining other species to form flocks so check out any group of birds arriving at your feeders or passing through your garden or local wood. Such mixed flocks could even contain a lesser spotted woodpecker if you are very lucky!
The dark October evenings are a great time to listen for tawny owls, which do their courting in the autumn. Listen too for flight calls of migrating redwing and wigeon as they fly over at night, in the dark. An amazing experience on still nights!
Now is the time to clean out your feeders and get them filled so that birds know they are there when the cold snaps arrive.
Hedgehogs could be snuffling around your garden, feeding up before hibernation. Take a look at the one munching below!
We would particularly like to hear of your autumn garden sightings of hedgehogs, tawny owl, bullfinch, fly agaric fungus and red admiral. Visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/woyd to record Wildlife on Your Doorstep.