Having completed their annual moult, our Madarin drake (Aix galericulata) drake and Golden pheasant cock (Chrysolophus pictus) are looking beautiful in their bright new plumage. They’ve also been making a bit of a racket in Pheasant Crescent and you may have heard some rather unusual sounds and seen some unusual behaviour in their aviary! These calls are part of the territorial defense and courtship of the two species and are fantastically dramatic, from the deep almost bubbling ‘song’ of the mandarin to the frenzied elaborate dance of the male golden pheasant complete with specialized feathers that move across his face. See more photos and videos on the next page!

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Last Friday, Mudchute Frankie, our strapping Oxford Down ram left the farm for a bit of city farm matchmaking! Frankie is off to stud at Surrey Docks City Farm, where he will be spending some quality time with a few of their lovely Oxford ewes. I made it down to Surrey Docks to visit him and had the chance to see meet some of his new girls! Frankie should be back at Mudchute some time next month and if all goes to plan, his sons and daughters should make their debut next April. Continue reading

Beautiful autumnal foliage of a hornbeam.

With winter just around the corner, November may seem a quieter time for wildlife than the busy spring and summer, but for the nature lover, there are many species best seen this month. Trees and shrubs are filled with fruits and berries, providing food for migrating birds and a last feast for those about to hibernate. And while most plants have stopped flowering, there is plenty of colour in the falling autumnal foliage. Fungi are also taking advantage of the cool, wet weather with mushrooms and toadstools springing up seemingly overnight! Continue reading