Tony Drakeford's nature notes


Autumn! - A season loved by some but viewed with sadness by others.

Despite the slow retreat of summer, and with winter not too far ahead, autumn showers us with a myriad of delights. Birds are clothed in fresh plumage; robins sing their territorial and rather wistful ditty, a refrain that somehow mirrors the melancholy mood of some. Both male and female robins sing.

Misty moisty mornings are a delight, enhanced by dew-laden lures of orb-web spiders in our gardens.

Ivy flowers attract late wasps and butterflies and of course, glowing tints of red, gold, russet and yellow adorn the trees as chlorophyll breaks down and carotene. Chemicals take over to lend those vibrant hues.  With global warming a reality, trees are shedding foliage later each autumn with only a hint of tint so far.  Leaves flutter earthwards to carpet grasses and with childlike glee I, and doubtless many others, enjoy kicking them along pavements.

Ripening berry-laden bushes provide winter visiting redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia already arriving courtesy of a recent north easterly wind, with the 'berried' treasure vital for them to survive the colder weather.

Blackberries are ripe for picking and mushy ones attract wasps and butterflies which love the juices.

On sunny days, dragonflies patrol water bodies and they will be with us until November and there was a late flush of white butterflies.

Visit our royal parks and the belching bellow of red stags and coughing burps of fallow bucks have been echoing across meadowland as the rutting season reaches its peak.

Autumn certainly has much to offer.