Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Just a few thoughts regarding the impending change of season - yes really, the (cough cough) change of season!

As you know, my Swifts left early this year (10th August roughly), 6 weeks ago. I've had a few reports of Swallows and House Martins still about. I've seen the odd one or two, but its fair to say that although there will be reports of the odd one or two of these species for a month or two yet, the majority have left northern and middle UK and the HUGE majority will leave the south in the next 2 or 3 weeks.
I do know of a couple of reports of Blue Tits checking out nest boxes in the past few days, not for nesting I assume, but for roosting purposes over the harsher season. I hope all your nest boxes are cleared out and blow torched (to rid them of lice and other parasites). One of our chicks (in full adult plumage now, and looking very dandy) has been checking out our seed feeder.
The Common Terns have left the river Thames as have the Grey Wagtails.

Ladybird (larvae) at least are very short in numbers, apart from the late breeding Harlequin larvae, and Crane Flies are (very slowly due to the previous month being quite dry) appearing at the moment.
There are a few large Dragonflies still hawking, but their numbers will dwindle dramatically soon.
The Male House Spiders are very much beginning their mating prowls now, and I know Foxes are beginning to give their winter screams at night.

The Horse Chestnut Trees are looking very withered and brown - the high winds (11 mini tornadoes reported in Britain yesterday) spilling conkers all over the ground.

The summer triangle (3 stars in the night sky I so appreciate seeing) are slipping away, and The constellation of Orion the hunter is now slowly taking up its winter position in the south sky. Orion is rising at dawn at the moment, you'll know when we're in the midst of winter when Orion will be visible, low in the southern sky at 7pm!

NB. (later). I've just read the above and I suppose it could be taken to be a little depressing? Well, those that know me do appreciate (I'm sure) that I'm more of a summer person than anything else. I was once asked to name anything I could which was good about winter. All I could come up with was "stews"!

This is not to say however, that there are lots of things I suppose to look forward to and appreciate about autumn and winter. The amazing colours of leaves during autumn, the rolling mists, the "mellow fruitfulness", the incredible clarity of the sky on a cold, crisp morning, frost lining the blades of grass and dare I... snow?!!
It would also seem from my comment above that everything is leaving us for the months ahead.
Well, not so, as I'm sure you're aware. Exactly now, there will be vast numbers of wildfowl, ducks, geese and waders winging their way to our shores, estuaries and inland bodies of water, not to mention large numbers of northern passerines and Scandanavian Thrushes such as Redwing and Fieldfare flocking here.

Anna and I are very much looking forward to erecting a makeshift birdtable of sorts, to go alongside our Niger seed feeder, to see what gems we can attract to our tiny wee garden.

Finally, soon, pretty soon anyway, it will be possible for us to "take tea" outside again, without sitting in a cloud of mosquitos! Now that will make the colder months worth it, eh?

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