It's happened again! I go away for a few weeks on a summer holiday (Northumberland, since you ask, very nice thank you) and when I get back it's autumn! There does seem to be a mis-match between human ideas about seasons and the natural world. In late August we still think it's summer, but for wildlife it's autumn. This August was wet, so there were lots of fungi out early. Similarly ,the woodlarks had already formed small flocks before the beginning of September, and presumably will shortly be moving off the heaths for the winter - mind you, just to confuse things, today I heard a brief snatch of woodlark song out on the reserve. Passage migrants have also been much in evidence, with wheatear and a small party of spotted flycatchers moving through this week. Our tree pipits have largely gone and presumably the nightjars are now on their way south as well, after what I hope was a successful nesting season.
Our heathland birds haven't completely deserted us - there are still lots of this years young stonechats around, looking very different to their parents. As I've said earlier, some butterflies have had a good year. Grayling seems to be among them - right now it's impossible to go for a walk on the heathland areas and NOT see a grayling. Of course here the amount of suitable habitat is increasing as we create more heathland, so perhaps it's no surprise that they are doing well here. And it's going to get better still - we're hoping to start on restoring another 12.5 ha. later this month. This will be the last major block of heathland restoration on the part of the reserve that's open to the public. We're holding a couple of open days (on the 10th and 18th of this month) so that people can come along and find out more about the work, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I'm hoping lots of people will come along and see me in our gazebo by the Old Frensham Road entrance.