Autumn is a brilliant time of year for spotting garden wildlife. Why not have a go at your very own Autumnwatch and let us know what you’ve seen. We want to know about anything you’ve seen – common and unusual, even if you’re not sure exactly what it is you can send us a photo and we’ll find out for you.
Some things you might spot…
In Autumn you can sometimes see these in very large flocks, even in urban areas. You might even be lucky enough to spot a mumuration! Why not encourage these threatened birds and other feathery friends to your garden by making a bird feeder?
Look out for dew on spiders’ webs – it looks beautiful and makes them easier to spot. The UK is home to over 650 species of spider! But some animals you’d think are spiders actually aren’t… have you ever heard of a harvestman? These arachnids resemble spiders and have 8 legs but have a single ‘blob’ for a body rather 2 ‘blobs’ like a spider. See if you can spot both in your garden!
Autumn is the best time of year for seeing fungi. Did you know… we have over 15,000 species in the UK?! Some of these can be easily spotted in gardens.
Mammal tracks and signs
As plants start to die back and muddy patches appear this makes Autumn and Winter the perfect time for spotting signs of more elusive garden residents like nocturnal mammals. Why not smooth a patch of mud and return the next morning to see if anyone has walked through? Or become a poo detective searching for anything left behind by garden visitors. Take a photo (without touching!) and send it to us – we’re big fans of poo here at the zoo!
Half term activities
There are loads of things you can make and explore with your family over half term whatever the weather.
Wet weather – Shelter inside whilst preparing for next Spring
Autumn and Winter are the perfect time of year for nest box making and maintenance. Take a peek inside existing boxes and clean them out if there are nesting materials left inside, then put them back up ready for birds to move back in next Spring.
Don’t have a nest box or want another one? Follow our handy guide to making your own nest box with your family:
Good weather – Get out in the garden and create invertebrate homes
Having lots of invertebrates like insects, spiders and other creepy crawlies means lots of food for other garden wildlife. You could make a bug hotel, or create a log or stone pile, giving invertebrates a safe space to hide in over the cold months.
Don’t be tempted to tidy up too much – dead plant heads and stems are perfect places for bugs to overwinter, so clear them in early Spring instead.
Wildlife Connections is a project led by Chester Zoo to create safe spaces for our most precious local wildlife.
By creating connections from one wildlife-friendly space to the next we can create wildlife highways through our neighbourhoods and protect the precious wildlife that we love.
There are plenty of ways you can get involved too – from making small changes to your garden or local green space, recording the wildlife you see, to becoming a Wildlife Champion!