As school begins again, inevitably we’ll get a spell of lovely weather that drives children around the country mad as they watch the sun from inside their classrooms. Although foliage and flowers are beginning to look worse for wear, the nuts and berries are springing up and falling down everywhere. Animals will spend most of the month feasting on these tasty snacks in preparation for the lean months ahead.
If you are particularly gifted in the kitchen, why not take the opportunity to make some jams and chutneys, it is a lot cheaper to forage for the berries yourself and a lot more fun. If you’re not confident in your identification abilities then there are pick your own farms dotted across the country where you can be safe that nothing in your basket is poisonous.
Keep an eye out for acorns and conkers. If you can collect some before the squirrels and mice beat you to it, they make great additions to Christmas wreaths with their deep brown tones. So store some up in a jar until the festive season.
Wood mice are busy gnawing hazelnuts, carving deep grooves in them and filling up nest-boxes with crab apples. These food stores are to sustain them over winter as, unlike the dormouse, they do not hibernate.
Ivy, despite being better known for its leaves, is a valuable source of nectar and attracts drone flies and other hoverflies, late bumblebees and red admiral butterflies.
Devil’s bit scabious is very popular with insects. Found in woodland rides and clearings this plant is especially important as a larval food source for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly. The Marsh Fritillary is one of Britain’s rarest species.
On trees and shrubs look out for the striking colours of the pale tussock moth caterpillar, its vivid yellow and black stripes and long yellow hairs, signifying its poisonous nature to any potential predators.
Many dragonflies are still on the wing including the migrant hawker and common darter.
On wires, swallows and house martins can be seen gathering before their epic 10,000-mile journey to central and southern Africa. During migration, a swallow will fly 200 miles a day, with a maximum speed of 35mph. These symbols of summer, departing before the weather turns.
On lakes and reservoirs, drake mallards and other ducks begin moulting into their bright winter feathers, leaving masses of feathers washing up against the shorelines of lakes and reservoirs.
Seaweed growth is at its peak. The sea water is at its warmest and many marine organisms are busy. Look in rock pools for crabs, shrimps, periwinkles, limpets and sea anemones.
I f you’re interested in what else nature gets up to throughout the year, why not read our Bat Diary!?