As summer turns to autumn the days begin to rapidly get shorter and the sun is noticeably lower in the sky. Once we pass the autumn equinox on Monday 23rd September, when day and night are of equal length, the days will draw in noticeably as the weeks and months pass, but this loss of day length is balanced by the prospect of spectacular sunsets, the stars seeming brighter in the night sky and magical misty mornings.
Autumn is also the time of nature’s bounty with hedgerows full of hips, haws, berries and seeds. As well as providing opportunities for tasty treats to pick on wildlife walks, there’s plenty of scope for watching wildlife stocking up from nature’s larder. Many species will be taking advantage of the wild harvest as they race to build up their reserves of fat for migration, hibernation or just to help them through the long, cold days of winter when food becomes scarce.
Look out for squirrels and jays searching for and burying acorns and other nuts to see them through the winter. Badgers will be busy searching out food and getting their winter quarters ready for leaner times ahead, so if you know of a sett, now could be a good time to find a spot downwind and settle in for your very own autumn watch experience.
As the month progresses, look out for flocks of migratory birds such as redwing and on wetland sites such as the Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley Nature Reserve, populations of species such as snipe will be boosted by birds arriving from colder climes. Flocks of geese and swans will also be worth looking out for and birds of prey such as the hobby might make an appearance on their southerly migration, whilst hen harriers can become a more regular visitor as they move in from their typical upland breeding sites.
EXPLORE NORTH NOTTS WEEKEND AT IDLE VALLEY
Over the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September The Wildlife Trust are delighted that Idle Valley Nature Reserve will be participating in a special ‘Explore North Notts Weekend’. Venues including Creswell Crags and Clumber Park are also taking part, and there will be a dedicated bus to transport visitors between venues, making it the ideal opportunity to explore and discover more of the great destinations in your local patch.
Visitors to Idle Valley over the weekend can enjoy 10% off in both the café and shop — all you have to do is mention ‘Explore North Notts Weekend’ for your discount.
For further details of all the venues taking part just Google Explore North Notts Weekend.
For details of wildlife to look out for, nature reserves across the county and volunteering opportunities visit www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org.
Image © Mike Vickers