Nature’s diary is always busy. Here’s what to look for in
Ferocious outside, sweet inside...
As September comes to a close, parks, gardens, and woodlands become littered with spherical, spiny green casings. It is the ferocious natural defences of the Sweet Chestnut. When they open, they reveal an inner surface covered with downy hairs as smooth as silk.
A golden wonder
While other summer blooms are fading away, the cheerful yellow blooms of Golden Rod become more conspicuous as a result. They have a long flowering period that extends into October. Look for them in dry, shady soils at the edges of woodlands and hedges.
A flash of cobalt
Kingfishers are shy birds, wary of people, but if one is nearby they will invariably give themselves away in flight with a flash of turquoise.
These avian stunners are often double-brooded, and some will be fledging their second family now. Keep your eyes peeled!
Who's there? It's a Nuthatch! At this time of year they are busy with their favourite foods of hazelnuts and acorns.They wedge them into crevices in trees, then hack them open - and it is this tap, tap, tapping sound that gives away their location during autumn.
Bank vole numbers reach their peak in early autumn. Like most small mammals, they're mainly active at dusk and dawn. But it's not too uncommon to spot them in broad daylight nibbling on plant seeds at the top of stems, as they start to store nuts, seeds and fruits in their tunnels, ready for winter.
Longing for a Cloudy day
Numbers of Clouded Yellow butterflies reach their peak in September, as the second generation produced by this summer immigrants make their appearance. Sometimes, there is even a further brood produced, which can linger on into October. This glorious butterfly can be seen all over the country, but particularly around the south and east coasts.
From little acorns...
Generally shy Jays suddenly become far more conspicuous in autumn. They remain in raucous family parties, flying together along woodland rides. You're also more likely now to spot them on the ground, collecting acorns to bury for their winter larder - and once they spot you, they will no doubt give their grating alarm call, before showing you their white rump as they fly away.
An eye-catching migrant, by September Painted Lady numbers peak. In June, they arrive here all the way from North Africa, lay eggs, and produce a new generaton of butterflies. But they all die when winter arrives, and Britain has to wait patiently again for the next wave of migrants to come in summer once more.
For more information, check out Beauties and the Beastly Plant.
Seen any of the above? Let me know!