High up on my ‘Wildlife Wish List’ is rutting red deer and my wish came true at a recent visit to Bushy Park
It was an awesome experience, actually it was #OfficiallyAmazing !!
We really enjoyed our trip to RHS Wisley and as it’s quite far from where we live, we decided to stay another day. We asked our friends, Alana & Luke about the best places to visit in the area and they suggested Bushy Park, one of the Royal Parks of London. Not knowing the area, we didn’t realise it was near Hampton Court Palace, which I’d visited in July for the Flower Show.
We thought we would need to go off walking deep in to the park to spot some wildlife, but as soon as we got out of the car, there were birds and deer everywhere – a heron sitting on a bench, behind the heron was a huge red deer stag just sat there chilling in the autumn sun, squawking parakeets were flying overhead and a green woodpecker flew past and perched on a stump – you just didn’t know where to look!
The deer was huge and it didn’t seem bothered about people being around. At one point though it stood up and it was absolutely massive, quite intimidating really – time to move on!
There was so much activity going on that we barely moved from the car park, it was like everywhere you looked there was wonderful wildlife to be seen. Then we heard this loud bellowing sound and could see a few people looking at the same bit of clearing in the bracken. There it was, The Beast of Bushy Park!!
You could tell that this stag was older by the number of points on its antlers; they serve as a rough guide to the age. He seemed to be patrolling and guarding his territory of approx. 11 females. We had watched a wildlife documentary a few days before about red deer and the females are in season for such a short time so he had his work cut out for the next few days. At times, he seemed to be sniffing the air – would that be to sniff out other rivals or females who are ready to mate???
Other stags in the area were doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things. One seemed to be dressing itself up in dead bracken and twigs – was it to make it look good for the ladies???!!!
Whilst the beast saw off any competition, when a fallow deer walked through there seemed to be no issue. It was like, “well you’re no threat, you’re a different species!”
Here’s a really shaky video we took – whilst it was a great wildlife spectacle, you were also conscious that if he wanted to, he could charge right at you with them 15 pointed antlers – so, it was one eye on the camera and one eye on the beast!
It really was deer heaven with red and fallow deer roaming around, hiding in the bracken, feeding; there was white and dark brown ones too.
The park was like bird central; there was kestrels, green woodpeckers, herons (so tame and approachable), parakeets and a kingfisher to name just a few.
The parakeets were well noisy, there was hundreds of them and in certain areas of the park it sounded like the jungle; by the end of the day I had an headache from their squawk!
A good few hours into the park, we saw a kingfisher fly past 3 times, in a flash of blue light. For me, any day with a kingfisher in it, is a good day!
Not great photos of the birds – they just don’t tend to pose!
There are lots of pockets of ponds at Bushy Park, each with their own species of ducks/wildfowl. It was great to see Egyptian geese, mandarin ducks and red crested pochards; up north we don’t get to see them very much.
‘When Autumn Leaves Start To Fall’ – you can have the most brilliant time!
We all really enjoyed Bushy Park for its wildlife and diversity; there’s wild areas of the park and more landscaped areas it’s a real mixture of woods, gardens, ponds and grassland. It’s so big we only saw a bit of it. We did manage to get over to the Waterhouse Woodland Garden too, which had a different feel to it.
The visit to Bushy Park felt like it was a bit of a surprise really; we just didn’t expect to see such wonders of wildlife I’d really recommend it if you are in the area, it’s a place where you could go for an hour or a whole day.
What’s your favourite park and why? Leave me a comment below
My next post will celebrate my first