to Look For in Autumn
sees a welcome slowing down of activity for many birds
as young and parents alike start to move away and breeding
is no longer a priority. Very often the reservoir water
level is at its lowest and the exposed mud margins attract
migrant waders on passage to other parts of the world.
Sandpipers and greenshank are both commonly seen but
expect the unexpected as anything can put in an appearance.
A good spot to head for is Coralline hide, opposite
Tattingstone, particularly if the water level is low.
Several years ago this whole area was re-profiled to
create a series of islands, pools and dykes that provide
good habitat whatever the current water level.
group of animals that are still very much thinking of
sex are the deer. October is the main rutting season
and males can often be heard in the nearby woodlands.
Although they do not spend much time actually on the
reservoir they do creep down at night to drink. If you’re
going round Alton by bike and you would like to see
deer the best chance during the day is to go along the
back road between Tattingstone and Holbrook and keep
a sharp eye out in the fields near Birchwood.
the wildfowl numbers build up as they return from
their breeding grounds further north. Tufted duck
and coot numbers are increased by birds arriving from
a couple of species to look out for are the majestic
osprey and the black tern. The osprey is either on
route from Scotland or possible even Rutland to its
over wintering grounds in Africa. The black terns
don’t always turn up but look out for them as
the dance across the water near the picnic site having
a last feed.