I know that I have said this before but this is my favourite time of year. Autumn always seems such a special time, that transition from the long lazy summer days to the shorter colder days ahead.
The hedgerows heavy with their ripening fruits, the fields a mixture of stubble and fresh plough now that most of the harvest is in and the trees beginning to turn from green to orange. The sky is not exempt as there have been some stunning sunrises and sunsets over the past week and the moon at the moment is big and beautiful too. The countryside around is a feast for the eyes with so many colours and textures.
At this time of year I hate spending any time indoors and if I had my way I would be out and about from dawn until dusk, but sadly other things prevent me from doing so. But I'm always looking and listening at the birds etc around me wherever I happen to be.
There are still plenty of Painted Lady butterflies on the wing plus good numbers of Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.
We have seen an increase in the number of birds visiting our garden, especially Goldfinches and Greenfinches.
In the valley below Hanging Houghton the weedy crops are beginning to attract large numbers of Tree Sparrows, Linnets and Goldfinches. There are still several Whinchat favouring "shrike" hedge and this morning a Marsh Harrier was in this area.
This afternoon the air was filled with the evocative calls of the Red Kite and Buzzard. I stood and watched as 4 Red Kites were playing with a stick low over a stubble field. One of the kites would drop the stick and another pick it up and fly a short distance before dropping it again. And so the " game" went on with each of the kites taking part. They were clearly enjoying themselves and were extremely vocal.
Yesterday at Harrington there were more of the usual Autumn birds present including a Stonechat, 2 Whinchat, Northern Wheatear and Common Redstart.
This time of year is not all about the "rare" birds which might be found but the sheer spectacle and experience of visible migration. It can be an amazing experience to stand still and simply watch and listen as birds are on the move. Meadow Pipits and Swallows were moving in large numbers this morning, I wonder what will be moving tomorrow ?