September 5, 2017

Let Wilderness Be Itself

Our juvenile robin is now sporting a full red breast. Nearly all but the odd straggler Swallow and House Martin have  just this week left for warmer climates. We now wait for the staggered influx of winter visitors over the next 3 months. Autumn migration is less intense than the spring as the urgency is not the same.

The Goldfinches have also left for Spain and Northern Africa except 2+juvenile  have decided to stay.  Are these the same 2 who remained last year as juveniles ? (I fantasize that they are) and will they join with others to produce their own little flock again.

Some birds such as the Blackcap now opt not to migrate, due to our warmer climate and milder winters. This gives them an edge next spring to choose the best nest site before the others arrive back.

Last Swallow to leave?
What is exciting is the knowledge that many birds usually only seen in the southern counties of the UK are slowly moving further north, so some new sightings are becoming more possible, maybe even one day a Dartford Warbler or Nightjar.

Autumn colours are appearing nearly a month earlier this year. The Virginia Creeper over the garage is turning brilliant red already. The air feels so different in the mornings and evenings and oh joy to get out of summer clothes into cosy fleece again and hopefully very soon winter duvet.

Something else I did not realize I had missed until a couple of weeks ago were the stars. As the nights are visibly drawing in and the lights go on at bedtime, leaning out of the window to say goodnight to the garden, (which I do every night) I can now see the stars clearly again. My window faces seaward so there is little or no urban glow and on a most clear nights I have a large vista of sky stretching across the horizon. One of my big wishes is to actually see the Milky Way but I do not think this is likely so close to Liverpool.


Large White Butterflies are flopping about like paper handkerchiefs in the wind, Some of them are much larger this year and seem to have little purpose than enjoying floating about.

Thus week a large harvest moon is waxing early evening to coincide with the gathering in the produce of a good harvest year.   It is a great time to watch large flocks of mixed birds taking advantage of the fallen seed.

On the way to check out the woodland project I heard the honking of geese and when looking over the hedge saw 70+  migrant Canada Geese enjoying the stubble of the harvest above. Autumn rushes in.

Footnote : I recently started experimenting with coffee and tea as a dye medium for paper.
Like all artistic enterprises nothing goes to plan and depending on the paper you use, it is not as easy as it sounds. Using vinegar as a mordent and used coffee gounds as the dye eventually there was moderate succes on 'expensive' handmade paper. To get rid of the smell of vinegar ( which I hate) the sample was left out over night on the garden table to air. This morning I found it under the table well nibbled and chewed by both slug and snail, wrecking the original intention but creating a very interesting evolving natural image.

More on this to follow in the next blog.