Nature Notes: Autumn Tints and Hints

Nature Notes: Autumn Tints and hints.

Nature Notes: Autumn Tints and hints.

First published in Nature Notes Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Following a combination of record rainfall and some late summer sunshine, conditions seem ideal to ensure that autumn should be especially colourful, even if wet and windy.

With memories of our fitful summer beginning to fade, we can look forward to a season which offers us many compensations. I always enjoy autumn with its crisp mornings and visual and audible delights.

While many birds have left us, we can welcome winter visitors including redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia and a trip to the Wetland Centre will reveal an assortment of avian delights.

Dragonflies continue to hawk and dart about near water on sunny days and weather permitting will fly until November. Thistledown wafts past in the breeze; silken spider's webs and threads shine and white butterflies that have been scarce seem to have benefitted with late broods and are flying well into September. Small coppers and small heaths enjoy the last of the ragwort while red admirals feast on buddleia and fermenting fruit.

Many ripening berries such as hawthorn are left until later by birds and guelder rose(pictured), too bitter for our taste will be savoured by the thrush family.

As nights draw in, starlings flock to established mass roosts; tawny owls hoot; dog foxes bark 'wow wow wow'; vixens shriek and red deer roar far-reaching belching bellow challenges as fallow deer utter softer coughing burps in Richmond and Bushy parks.

So, just a few hints to savour autumn tints before colder weather takes over and colours fade to be replaced by winter drabness.

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