20 August to 19 September 2017
Autumn seems to have started a little earlier this year. September can often produce very summery, warm weather. My impression this year is that we’ve had more unsettled, windy and showery weather – albeit not exactly cold.
It is a time of plenty for most animals and birds, there are ample supplies of berries and other fruits around and the temperatures are still high enough for there to be insects too.
In my garden the local squirrels and Nuthatches are both preparing for the winter by staching food supplies (typically seeds and nuts) for use at a later date. This sort of behaviour explains, in part at least, why gardeners find random things growing where they shouldn’t – in my case this often includes oak saplings growing from buried acorns in the middle of a flower bed, though I think the local Jays (birds strongly associated with oak woodland) are more likely responsible for these particular random plantings.
Looking back through the archives, my first notes were prepared for the Messenger in January 2010, after an extremely cold mid-winter; I believe that was the harshest winter we’ve had in recent years. Possibly we are due a repeat this winter, eight years later? We may be due one.
In any event, I should take this opportunity of thanking everyone who has contributed to the Nature Notes over the years with the many fascinating reports which have been sent in to me. I hope I have, on the whole, accurately recorded them in the Notes and correctly attributed them. I apologise if anyone has been missed out at any stage, it wasn’t deliberate! Thank you also for the kind comments made to me personally about the monthly Notes, which have been very much appreciated. As mentioned last month, these will be my final Nature Notes; I think it is definitely time for “new blood” to take on the role of producing them, possibly adopting a new style to freshen things up a little? I hope I will still be able to contribute by feeding reports in to the new Notes author, I know how helpful it is to have those reports.