After our hot summer, recent rain has refreshed the woodlands and hedgerows but failed to raise the water level in the two reservoirs which remain very low. This exposed mud gave the opportunity to look at some footprints and it seems that an otter might have been using the top reservoir.

Whilst the swallows have now left, house martins are still around, and also still flying are speckled wood butterflies and a few surviving large white butterflies. Grasshoppers and bush crickets are still hopping and have reached their largest size. Like most insects they will either die or burrow down and survive the cooler months in a state of dormancy.

The newly discovered bat colony on the Care farm  has dispersed after breeding and the pipistrelle bats will seek out secure accommodation over the winter months. Obviously they would starve as moths and gnats stop flying in the cooler evenings so they find a place with a stable temperature and importantly a high humidity, either in a cave or barn or hollow tree or old building and there enter a state of hibernation for many months.

The hedgehogs of the Holy Well fields will also hibernate soon, slow worms and grass snakes will burrow down and become dormant and so much of our wildlife will seems to disappear. However, we will already be seeing some birds from the North arrive, blackbirds, thrushes and even wrens and gold crests do travel thousands of miles to escape the northern snows.

LOOK OUT FOR common darter dragonflies, speckled wood butterflies, flocks of starlings and LISTEN for young buzzards calling and TAWNY OWLS  hooting in the evening.

If you look at the largest wasps, particularly around the top reservoir, you may discover that they are actually HORNETS, this large placid insect is feeding mainly on trees and pollen from what flowers are left. There is a nest in a woodpecker hole in an old oak tree at the top of the steps up from the railway. LOOK UPWARDS – so many people never take their eyes off the ground while walking and so miss a lot. The skies are fantastic with sunlight castles of clouds and lovely sunsets  at this time of year. ENJOY!

Keith Falconer

26 September 2018