Natures composters, throughout autumn look out for lots of different species of Fungi growing throughout The Park. While the soil provides an ideal habitat for many species, fungi can also be found on rotting vegetation.
Look out for fungi on the forest floor, along the verges and amongst dead wood. If in the Old Oak Wood look out for rare fungi and lichen collections on the decaying oak wood.
2. Leaf Mine
While on your autumn walk in Dalkeith Country Park take a moment to stop and examine the leaves on the trees and you may find a leaf mine.
The larvae of many moths, sawflies and flies feed within the leaves of plants. As they feed and grow, the larvae move through their host plant’s tissues, often creating these characteristic mines.
3. Birds & Feathers
Look out for birds feeding on berries, seeds and fallen fruit as they are hastily fattening up for winter.
During autumn many adult birds actually moult their feathers, their worn-out feathers from this year’s breeding season are regrown with new, strong, warm feathers to see them through the winter. This year’s young are losing their first feathers and moulting into their adult coats. Autumn is an excellent time to find bird feathers.
4. Chestnuts & Acorns
This autumn we will have an abundance of acorns and chestnuts. Thanks to our largely native woodlands you will find oak and chestnut trees throughout The Park and their seeds will provide a banquet of foods for our wildlife. One of our park rangers jobs this season will be to collect these seeds and plant new trees to secure the regeneration of our historic woodland.
Ranger Fact: Did you know over its lifespan an oak tree can produce as many as 10 million acorns.
During the autumn months we will continue to see butterflies throughout the park. Most notably are the Peacocks and Red Admirals. Take time to examine Ivy and Holly trees as these provide vital habitat for Red Admirals, Speckled Wood and the rare Holly Blue.
Ranger Fact: The preferred red admiral butterfly host plant is a stinging nettle. They feel safe on these plants and their young also feed on them after birth.