Now that most of the leaves have fallen or soon will be, we are able to see much more clearly into hedges and shrubs, revealing the winter larder of berries. It seems to have been a mixed season with hawthorn and rowan trees in this part of the world having quite a good crop whilst the sloes on blackthorn don't seem that prolific. Many apple trees seem to have done really well which will hopefully keep our wild birds fed through the winter months. How does it look where you are, which berries are abundant and which are conspicuous by their absence? Please let us know by commenting below!
Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
We are still getting lots of queries about the lack of birdlife in gardens, usually a query we get most of in late summer and early autumn, we think this is due to the mild autumn weather. Gardens will get busier when the colder weather arrives, at the moment the wider countryside is still providing plenty of natural food for our feathered friends. However, keep providing food in the garden little and often and you should be able to entice a few of the mobile species like finches and tits into the garden. As the weather does take a turn for the worse, get ready to step up the feeding to help out the starlings, thrushes and more unusual garden visitors like wagtails and goldcrests, they would take grated cheese or mealworms if you are lucky enough to have them pay a visit. The mild autumn has certainly had impacts on our wildlife with wasps still active and mallards with ducklings being around in November!
Keep an eye out for wintering blackcaps and chiffchaffs, these warblers are now a regular occurence over the winter months in the UK, if you have any newcomers to your gardens this winter please report them via Birdtrack and share your observations and pictures with us on the communities site.
As the leaves are falling and the temperatures are dropping, this November is the perfect time to get out and about to see and encourage wildlife. We are getting a number of enquiries about this so take the plunge and join them!
If you prefer to do your bit closer to home then grab your coat and gloves and get busy in the garden, here are a few ideas that can help wildlife this autumn;
If your local birds are still few and far between, don't worry they will be back soon. The natural food in the wider countryside is keeping them happy for the time being but this will all change when the leaves have fallen and the temperatures have dropped as birds will then head back to gardens to take advantage of the food and shelter on offer.
If you fancy spreading your wings, there are plenty of places to go to see some truly magical wildlife spectacles on RSPB reserves right now, some of the most frequently enquired about recently have been starling murmurations, flocks of geese, wader roosts and birds of prey. If you have a favourite RSPB reserve where you like to go to watch these spectacles or other wildlife that is around at this time of year, please tell us about it with a comment on this blog.