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  • Writer's pictureAilie Brown

Enchanting October

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Oh October! Lovely warm orange colours and crunchy leaves underfoot and in the Cairngorm’s National Park, nature’s natural firework display is on show, it’s a truly beautiful time to visit Speyside. With wildlife not quite yet, winding down for winter, there’s plenty going on and lots to see.

October is the best month to see Red Deer rutting, they have moved further down into the glens and are now easier to see. The males bellow in competition for harems of females. Red Deer and Sika Deer both rut, looking similar from a distance, the Red Deer’s larger antlers can be decorated in grass, moss and ferns ripped from the ground in their display of strength. During our Guided Days Out, guides have seen both species regularly and are finding the best spots to watch them in action.

A Roe Deer's antlers sticking out in a moorland of heather.
This Roe Deer was hiding very well in the heather (Ailie Brown)

Roe deer have got their winter coats just about on - they have a beautiful silky silvery thick fur covering their summer rusty auburn colour. Their antlers will shed at the end on the month so it’s a good time to look for them on our Guided Days Out.

By now, most of our deciduous tree’s have stored the last of their energy into their trunks and roots, leaving the leaves to fall to the floor. My favourite tree in Autumn is Aspen. It shimmers in the Autumn winds, almost dancing, it’s Latin, Populus tremula describes its trembling leaves. When you get a strong gust, leaves blow off and rain around you. Ferns and Bracken have turned a golden colour, piles of leaves are making excellent homes for insects, frog, toads, and small mammals.

A Red Squirrel enjoying a snack.
A young Red Squirrel seen on one of our recent Guided Day's Out (Ailie Brown)

Red Squirrels are in abundance and we have seen many little one’s enjoying their newfound freedom. They have learnt how to forage and will soon gain those notable tufts of fur on their ears.

Geese flying in a V formation in the evening sky.
Geese arriving in Speyside (Ailie Brown)

Resident birds increase in numbers and the start of the winter migrants appear. Fieldfares and Red Wings arrive in good numbers in Speyside. They are often seen on trees with berries and sometimes in fields looking for worms and snails. Large numbers of Pink-footed Geese arrive in our wetlands, we have a few sites we visit on our Guided Day’s Out to enjoy the spectacle and the noise. The noise of geese flying over is a comforting feeling that nature’s calendar is still on track.

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