Autumn is on the way

 As we move from summer to autumn there are plenty of changes to be seen in the gardens and countryside. The high pressure system hovering over us is giving us some lovely warm end-of-summer weather with chilly, misty  mornings and the evenings closing in so it’s getting dark around 8pm.  The harvest is almost in and the wildlife is showing signs that the year is advancing. My niger seed feeder is constantly abuzz with activity from families of goldfinches, the fledglings still without their crimson faces. Many species of butterfly including the common blue, meadow brown, gatekeeper and brown argus have all but disappeared leaving mainly whites to be seen fluttering round ragwort flowers in the fields and buddleia bushes closer to home.

Goldfinch family feeding on niger seed in my garden

A host of other garden birds including blue tit, great tit, dunnock, collared dove, wood pigeon, greenfinch and chaffinch are regularly visiting the feeders and in the wake of the reported outbreak of the Trichomonas parasite, which has been reported to be killing large numbers of greenfinch and chaffinch, it is good to see regular appearance of healthy individuals of both species in the garden. 

Greenfinch male on my apple tree

An early morning walk along the street can also be a rewarding experience just now. Hedgerows topped with blackberries are festooned with spider webs laden with dew and illuminated by the low early morning sunshine; architectural wonders which impress not only by their complexity but by the sheer number of them too. Numerous swallows are swooping over the fields feeding up on insects prior to their migration to sub-Saharan Africa. It’s always a source of wonder to me how such a tiny creature survives such a huge journey at such a young age, only to repeat it in reverse in six months time. Dragonflies and damselflies of various types are to be seen chasing, hawking and darting over fields and gardens, species such as migrant hawker and the common darter and common blue damselfly.   

Common blue damselfly

Migrant hawker dragonfly, female – the male is blue

I will keep watching and photographing the changes as we progress through autumn and post the most interesting ones here. 

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