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Getting ready for winter - it's nearly time to hibernate

Hi everyone TAPS wildlife team here with some news and updates.

We hope everyone had a good Halloween and bonfire night, and that you remembered to check under your bonfire for hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs will soon be hibernating, so if you see one out during the day please contact your local rescue centre as it’s probably in danger and might need some help, especially if it's a young one. Only three British mammal groups hibernate, so as well as hedgehogs, bats and the dormouse snuggle down from October/November until March/April the following year. We’ve captured two little hedgehogs on our night vision trail cam and we expect they will soon be finding somewhere warm and safe to snuggle up for the winter.

Hedgehog captured on the night vision camera

Hedgehog captured on the night vision camera

Another thing that's happening this time of year is bird migration. Some of our birds go off to warmer climates while others come to our coastlines from the north to spend the milder winters here. We regularly check the local bird sightings and have been surprised at some of the different birds spotted, especially the puffins seen near east Runcton in October! Other visitors have been the fieldfare, redwing and snow buntings.

Puffin, fieldfare, redwing and snow bunting

Puffin, fieldfare, redwing and snow bunting

These birds come here when their food supplies run out, little auks and various wader birds are also landing on our coastlines, which is exciting to see.

Little auk, black throated diver

Little auk and black throated diver

Birds in our gardens will be needing our help more now in the coming winter months, especially if the ground freezes making it harder for them to get insects and worms. Birds require high energy high fat foods to keep up their fat reserves and keep them warm on frosty evenings. Food such as fat balls, seed mixes, sunflower hearts and peanuts will all help the birds stay alive.

We’ve also spotted a new bird species on our table this week, a pair of coal tits have arrived. They look similar to a great tit but are smaller with a black cap and distinctive grey back. As food gets scarce in woodlands they come into gardens to feed so keep your eyes peeled. We have included a picture so you know what to spot. Hopefully we will see more birds coming to our table in the coming months.

Coal tit - have you spotted one in your garden?

Have you spotted a coal tit in your garden?

This is also the rutting season for red deer, where the stags fight for dominance to see who will win the doe. Lots of antler locking takes place and they make a lot of noise, almost like a cow mooing. Talking of deer, we'd like to add how lovely it was to see the muntjac at Holt Hub, how lucky was that! We’re sure you’ll be lucky enough to see more wildlife as you are so close to the Holt Country Park, which if you haven't been is an excellent place for a walk and to enjoy the wonders of nature.

Holt Hub's muntjac deer

Holt Hub's muntjac deer

We still have regular visits from our cheeky squirrel as you will see, he's very tame and gives us a lot of entertainment with his antics.

Dereham Hub's cheeky squirrel

Dereham Hub's cheeky squirrel

That's all for this month, so until next time keep watching wildlife, help where you can, and see what new birds and wildlife you spot out and about.

Bye for now.

Helen, Tim, Mark, Lucie, Craig, Stephen, Jasmine, Justin and Claire 

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