It was the summer equinox over the weekend, on the 22 September. It is a time of year that makes me feel both happy and sad at the same time. The sun, pitched perfectly against a clean, crisp, blue sky, watching down on us from its highest position gives me a real boost. A natural energy shot! But, at the same time, there is that slight chill in the air. A chill that makes it uncomfortable to wear short sleeves. Your nose gets a little nip on the end and it reminds you that the fresh air of Autumn is only round the corner. So, you can imagine how this might send our natural world into a bit of a frenzy. It is one of the busiest times for wildlife with plenty of sights and sounds out there to distract you from the seasonal limbo.

As the daylight hours start shrinking and the temperature drops, birds both in our gardens and across the countryside will start to congregate. Small flocks of sparrows will start gathering in your garden. Chattering away, sharing information about the best places to find food before they roost together for the night. Hugging tight to keep warm. Rooks and starlings will also start to assemble, seeking comfort and protection in numbers. And being very noisy with it!

Our summer visitors will have migrated down south for their winter in the sun, feeling the warmth on their feathers as they leave the UK for another season. However, when one lot of visitors leave, another inevitably arrives! Walking outside, I am always keen to look up to the September sky. You may well start to see the skeins of geese piercing through the countryside on their way to find a suitable resting place for the evening. We are lucky enough to have a third of the UK's population of pink footed geese here in the East and a trip up to the North Norfolk coast in the next few months will not leave you disappointed. In their arrow-head formations, they are able to conserve energy by rotating their turns at the front of the pack, ensuring they are as efficient as possible. It's a bit like Mark Cavendish and his lead out train for our Team GB cyclists. 

One of the most important things at this time of year, is to make sure that our garden birds are kept well fed. We can play a vital part in their survival over the autumn and winter months and this will ensure that they have plenty of energy stores. So, if you have some spare time this weekend, make sure that your bird feeders are stocked up - your feathered friends will thank you for it!

Featured in EDP, Saturday 22 September