Friday, 23 October 2015

Autumn on Patch

 For some years now I have watched the changing colours of the Rowan Tree/Mountain Ash which is opposite my home, as autumn approaches winter, and although it hasn’t as yet reached its peak of beauty it is looking colourful and is laden with its usual crop of berries.  Surprisingly I have seen no Mistle Thrushes approaching for a feast so far.  What has been frequently heard and seen is the Grey Wagtail which for some reason is attracted to the estate.  It could be easily overlooked if it were not for the attention the high pitched call receives.  Another harbinger of autumn was the skein of seventy calling Pink-footed Geese flying south over the patch earlier in the month, another species probably overlooked by the vast majority of residents and yet a fairly regular sight at this time of year.

The patch is certainly looking autumnal, a patch that has always made me stop and think about its past, present and future.  Having just read Common Ground by Rob Cowen, I reckon I’ll be thinking in such terms even more.  This is an excellent read and covers the natural history of the Rob Cowen’s local patch, the edge lands of Harrogate, Yorkshire in a most unusual way.  As well as seeing things through the authors eyes we are presented with things seen through the eyes of wildlife, as well as learning of the history and possible future of the area and individuals with connections to it.  This is all related in a personal, informative and in a funny, poignant and informative manner.  I could relate much of the feeling in the book to my own feelings about my own patch, especially the changing aspects of it all.  I reckoned this book would appeal to Holywell Birder and so made him aware of it and guess what, yes he had just begun to read it and informs me that the author is to give a talk in Newcastle next month.

Rowan Tree
Sam and I were on patch the other day and found the lake still strangely very quiet.  Sam fears if it remains such we might have to start and take an interest in gulls!  There’s an article about gulls in the BBC Wildlife magazine this month with comments about some of the nonsense written in the media recently about these species.  There is a couple of Goldeneye about among the twenty or so Mute Swans and circa eighty Canada Geese.  As we checked the lake out a Kestrel flew overhead.  Now returning to looking at things through the eyes of wildlife I wonder what the Kestrel makes of what is happening locally.

We gave much attention to the tree species and I had never realised just how many Hazel we have in the area.  A Harvestman Spider was found and a number of Speckled Wood Butterflies were on the wing.  We later found two or three Red Admiral Butterflies and more surprisingly a Comma Butterfly.

Comma Butterfly
It was quite windy, so birdlife was not found easily, but once in the are of the village we did pick up tits including Long tailed Tits, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Bullfinch among other woodland birds.  We also had a good sighting of Grey Squirrel, only my second one on patch, the first being in my garden.

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