The Royal Parks urges visitors to stay away from rutting deer

Photograph left: Adam Masterton AM Nature Photography

Autumn signals a shift in deer behaviour as the rutting season begins. Male deer roar and clash antlers in a bid to fight off rivals and attract females. During this time, park visitors are being advised by The Royal Parks to be extra vigilant and stay well away from the deer, as the stags are pumped full of testosterone, can weigh over 25 stone and reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

During the rut, The Royal Parks are urging people to take responsibility for their own safety by:

  • Keeping to a minimum distance of 50m from the deer. If the male deer seem active, then visitors should stay at least 100m away
  • Always keeping dogs on a lead near the deer or walking them elsewhere
  • Abiding by the British Deer Society’s Code of Conduct when photographing deer
  • Never getting in between two rutting deer.

The Dawn Photographer: “Richmond Park is special to me”

James Kliffen shares the amazing story of his photographs of Richmond Park in lockdown. James has a photograph in the Friends of Richmond Park 2024 Calendar.

Watch here:

Richmond Park Open Day

Photograph: Amanda Boardman

It was an enjoyable day at the Richmond Park Open Day two weeks ago – despite the rain in the afternoon. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the work to keep Richmond Park special. There will be a more detailed report in the next issue of Park Life magazine.

The butterfly year

Autumnal Small Coppers by Nigel Jackman

The butterflies that added such a sprinkling of colour and enchantment to the Park over the past few months are now all but gone. Despite the early doubts nationally, this year has overall been very encouraging, with the Richmond Park Butterfly Group identifying thirty species, including Silver-washed Fritillary and both Brown and White-letter Hairstreaks, all rarely seen here. Species that have done well include Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Small Skipper and a late brood of Small Copper. Even now a warm and sunny day may encourage a few late specimens to flitter or bask in the sunshine for our enjoyment.

Autumn bird count

Twenty six bird enthusiasts scoured the Park on the 23 September, participating in the 9th annual Autumn Bird Count to spot as many different types of birds as possible. The fine weather contributed to a very successful day, concluding with a record seventy three species.

Sweet chestnuts

Photo by Nigel Jackman

Unsurprisingly, 2022’s super-abundance of acorns has not been repeated this year, to the cost of the deer and other wildlife that depend upon them for food. However, this Autumn is promising a heavy crop of sweet chestnuts, to be enjoyed by the deer over the coming weeks because of their taste and nutrition. Although not a primary food source they are high in carbohydrates and contain high quality protein, providing nutrients and minerals that contribute to the deer’s health. After the rut is finished, eating chestnuts and other nuts will help the stags regain condition and build up their winter fat reserves.