The leaves are changing colour and beginning to fall across the farm. Autumn has arrived on the farm! Keep an eye out for the changing leaves with bright golden leaves of lime trees and bright reds of our acers and sorbus. Falling leaves are also a seasonal treat for many of our animals who are partial to a crunchy leaf or too. No need for a leaf blower on the cow field! Dora and Delilah headed straight for the trees when let out this morning, quickly hoovering up the leaves that fell overnight.
Last week one of our visitors sent in the photo above, concerned about the rapid defoliation by these hungry caterpillars! They are not invasive species that has been making headlines, but caterpillars of the Buff-tip (Phalera bucephala), a native species known for their gregarious habit as caterpillars.
We caught up with the caterpillars later in the week and they certainly had grown and spread out! Yet they continue to eat oak leaves at an impressive rate. They will soon be preparing to pupate, tucked up underground, to emerge next year as adults in June or July.
Thanks again for spotting this! Have you noticed any interesting or unusual wildlife at Mudchute? Be sure to send any queries our way! We’re only a tweet, Facebook message or email away!
The following birdwatching news comes from Tower Hamlets Biodiversity Officer John Archer.
There had been a big fall of passage migrant birds in London this week with many species passing through Mudchute on their journeys. First reported on 26th, on 27th was 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 male Redstarts and 4 to 5 Spotted Flycatchers in the paddocks, along with a few Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps. These are probably Scandinavian breeders, brought across on the South-Easterly airstream and grounded by the heavy rain on Wednesday. A few birdwatchers from various parts of London have been visiting Mudchute to see the flycatchers and redstarts.
Have you spotted any unusual birds on the farm? Do send us a tweet @mudchute!