Autumn in the garden

Autumn routines

There have been a couple of warmer days this past week with a fair amount of sunshine and you could be forgiven for thinking that we’re not into the third week of October.
There is often a warmer spell about this time of the year, which is called Saint Luke’s little summer, as the saint’s feast day falls on the 18th of the month. Yesterday several pigeons were taking advantage of the bird bath facilities and then sitting on the lawn in the sunshine to dry off, as they did in the summer. A couple of the starlings also are regularly using the saucers for their ablutions too, in addition to doing that 100 metre dash across the lawn to have a sneaky drink before flying off.

Generally though, the garden is looking very autumnal and at least one squirrel is still coming to feed on the peanuts first thing in the morning and last thing in the early evening. The birds are definitely into a much later routine of arriving and earlier departure now with the feral pigeons not really arriving in the garden until eight o’clock and they have disappeared by five. Once we change the clocks, their human will have to remember to put the food out at different times!

During the past week I’ve had a couple of wood pigeons who have been helping themselves to berries from a bush in the garden and a pair of collared doves have also been coming at least a couple of times during the day. The latter still haven’t timed things in the evening though and tend to turn up when the pigeons have finished all the late afternoon food. Being a softy, I often go out in the garden and put some extra food on the bird table.

Consumption of food has certainly increased as the birds move into the autumn routine of needing a good supply of food. Suet balls and squares are certainly still very popular. With a few jackdaws coming and a magpie, the suet balls are disappearing more quickly now and I’ve also this past week seen a couple of crows. The flock of starlings are certainly still around and although they may not all come to my garden, which is probably just as well as the food would disappear even more quickly, I saw a big flock of probably 40 birds flying round one evening as they headed off for the day. They have been a few sparrows round and about as well but nowhere near the quantity of earlier in the year, so I assume they will also return as things turn to autumn routines. The blackbird family still seems to be coming, although I don’t see that much of them, but I imagine there are plenty of berries and other food out in the countryside at the moment for them to enjoy, but they will no doubt turn up more regularly soon.

The weather has either been wet, breezy or not particularly warm on other days this week and so I don’t think I’ve really seen any insect activity on the plants. I have been looking at the possibility of buying a bee or insect hotel to put in the garden, not something that I have done before and I hope that it is not be too late in the season.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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