Wonderful winter wildlife
While we're enjoying cosy nights in and drinking hot chocolate, our wildlife are out in estate in the harsh wintery months.
Autumn was a season of abundance with plants producing plenty of berries and seeds, providing food for mammals and birds alike to stock up on energy reserves. Mammals, such as squirrels, were busy creating caches of seeds and will revisit them during the blistering months when food sources are scarce. When you walk around the estate, listen for them rustling around in the branches above you.
As we move into winter, many of the birds you would have seen earlier in the year will have flown south for some well earned warmth. However, if you look around, you may be able to see kestrels and buzzards circuling up in the sky. Listen our for their haunting cries overhead.
In order to store up plenty of food resources dormice, hedgehogs and bats will enter a deep sleep over the winter. Hibernation will keep their body temperates and heart rate low enough to conserve energy.
As you scout the horizon, you may notice the small grassy nests of the harvest mice. This will keep them toasty and warm over the cold
When you wonder around to enjoy the estate on your winter walks, please make sure to have your dog on a lead, so that we can leave these animals to rest.
As the trees and bracken dwindle over the winter months, our rangers venture out into the grassland and heathland to clear the scrub that gathers.
By removing the grass, they promote the growth of special grassland species, so you will be able to enjoy a beautiful green landscape when you wonder through our parkland.
Instead of creating bonfires to remove the scrub, we create habitat piles. Dead woody materials are a great habitat for sheltering invertebrates and hibernating reptiles and amphibians. So, be sure to keep an eye out both high and low to see what animals you can spot as you walk thorough Shugborough, as the outdoors is always alive.