Autumn Gold

There is a real feel of autumn in the air now, with temperatures dropping to -5° at ground level and an air temperature dipping below freezing overnight. The leaves are showing the first hints of autumn gold. There seems to be a good crop of berries on the Rowan trees, so plenty of food for winter Thrushes. It has also been a bumper year for blackberries, raspberries and red currants.

Swallows and martens were gathering on the wire, a new flock everyday as they move south. One pair are chancing it with a late family though still working hard to feed a brood of chicks in the entrance to the steading accommodation block here. There are plenty of insects for them, but will the chicks be ready in time to join the migration south to Africa?

Our tawny owls are very vocal at the moment, hooting , kewicking and babbling away at dusk . They will be establishing winter feeding territories, though our three local pairs didn’t produce any young this year, so no youngsters to be moved on.

In contrast the great spotted woodpeckers seem to have done well, with red-capped youngsters very much in evidence at the nut feeders.

With the nights drawing in, it is more difficult to see the pine martens. A few weeks back they were coming to the log pile in evening light, nut now they feed under the cover of darkness ! We can still watch them though – see the video from our cameras posted on youtube  at

We do have one unwelcome visitor though – a set of footprints on the monk raft have betrayed the presence of an unwanted alien. The mink trap has been set and hopefully we catch and euthanize the intruder. Not something we like to do but we need to do it.


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