Saturday, 30 August 2014

An Autumn Feel

With the daylight hours drawing in, a series of cloudy and wet days, and a distinct chill in the air, autumn is fast coming upon us.  There's a good crop of blackberries on the brambles along the road which, as with many things this year, seem to have come early.

The berries on the rowans are their usual brilliant shades, though there is a much smaller crop for the winter birds than last year.  Last year's huge crop attracted masses of Scandinavian fieldfares and redwings to the area.

At this time of year the small mammals are working to build up a good store of winter food.  Most of the cobnuts that were on the hazel trees a week or so ago have disappeared, probably to a mouse's store.  This mouse lives somewhere near our bird feeders, and is probably benefiting from the larger grains, such as wheat, which the small birds don't eat.

The robins have had a good year for producing young.  This is one of several juvenile robins who come into our garden.  Robins will happily share food with other species of bird but, if another robin comes anywhere near, they'll try to see it off.  The puffed-up head and chest feathers in this picture is a sure sign of a confrontation.

This young swallow looks like a nestling from one of the last broods this year.  With the swallows gathering ready for their long journey to Africa, he's likely to have a tough time of it.

Another bird that'll be away in the next month or so is this pied wagtail - who, as an insect eater, shouldn't be enjoying a feed of grain.  They don't go as far as the swallows, spending their winter in England or France.  As a result, they'll be a welcome sight in the spring as they're one of the first birds to return.

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