The weather is considerably cooler here now and there is a real feel of autumn in the mornings with frost on the grass and a cold wind from the west. This has meant the arrival of the winter thrushes, and I can put up with any amount of cold weather if the consequence is having redwings and fieldfares here. The largest flock of redwings I have ever seen here – over 200 – arrived a few days ago and they are making their way around our little valley eating every berry in sight. Fieldfares so far have only arrived in small numbers but they are as grumpy and feisty as usual and already arguing over the remaining apples on two of our biggest trees.
Gardening at this time is certainly lessening, as I tend to leave alone as much as I can from now until the spring. So much lives here in sheltered places that I have no desire to disturb hibernating mammals and invertebrates. Raking leaves from the grass though is a job I do when I can, as we have a large number of trees here, and the leaves all go into the chicken wire leaf compost area where they can be left to break down over time, while making a great wildlife habitat.
Jenny Steel was a Plant Ecologist at Oxford University before becoming a writer. She has more than 20 years experience of writing about and teaching ecology, natural history and wildlife gardening. She is also a photographer, journalist and former plant nursery owner, and a lecturer and tutor in adult education. She has appeared on a variety of radio and television programmes including Gardener’s World with Alan Titchmarsh, and she presented a series of items on the BBC 2 gardening show, How Does Your Garden Grow. She has worked with and written for a variety of organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society, Natural England, Atropos, Ernest Charles, the Adult Residential Colleges Association (ARCA), Haiths, Usborne Books, Complete Gardens, Oxfordshire County Council, the charity Growing Native and several of the Wildlife Trusts. She is also the Garden Bird Guru for the wild bird food company JustAddBirds of which she was a co-founder. The Emmy Award winning film company Panache Productions are currently making a film about her wildlife garden in South Shropshire. She has written 10 books on wildlife gardening. Her website can be found at www.wildlife-gardening.co.uk and her bird food company at www.JustAddBirds.co.uk
On a similar topic, I thought you would like to read my latest post on UKbirdingtimeline.
The weather here is much like yours these days. No winter visitors yet but the Blue Jays seem frantic for food and must be storing a great deal of it. There were no berries on the Rowan Trees this year and aside from blue berries there were few ground berries. Because of these things the old people are saying that we’re in for a hard winter.