Blogger: Aggie Rothon, Communications Officer

I must have spent much of my school life day-dreaming. We sat at work today peering from our strip lighted office to the drizzling rain outside and started discussing when summer turns to autumn and when autumn turns to spring. Apparently the season turns on the 21st day every three months. This I didn’t know and my delight upon recognition of the fact caused much amusement with my work chums.

I have never really got on with facts, hence my mother spending agonising hours trying to explain fractions to me as a child. Neither have I much liked science fiction novels or films about ‘other worlds’; it took me years to contemplate watching Lord of the Rings. Surrealism doesn’t appeal and the art of Dali or Magritte is foreign to me. Perhaps my aversion to those things cerebral is the reason I have always known about the turning of the seasons by the feel of them rather than their fact.

According to fact we have got nearly a month until the start of autumn. To me however, the first suggestions of autumn are already here.

The air was thick with moisture as I went out for an evening walk and the colour of fresh paint water just after washing your first dark blue brush. I wake too to a morning with a dark bloom to the sky and the sweet song birds of summer have been replaced by the restful vibrations of the woodpigeons and ‘thaack, thaack’ of the jackdaws whirling in crowds over the ploughed-in stubble fields.

The hedgerows are thick with blackberries, those already plumped by the summer sun providing rich pickings for the birds bustling in the undergrowth. Unfortunately for those of us gleaning the bushes and hungry for crumble, the softness of the autumn sun is not enough for those clusters of berries still closed tight in hard, bright red fists. They miss the intensity of earlier months and shrivel unripe on their brambles.

The voices of summer, the swifts and the swallows, are leaving. They have been collecting, row upon row in gardens and on telegraph lines, waiting on these damp afternoons to take to the skies and head for warmer climes. Just as they leave the wading birds return. Scurrying knot and long legged godwit probe the depths of our marshes and lagoons for grubs whilst the more refined creature, the ruff, picks delicately alongside them.

Yes, autumn is coming, I can feel it, and I can see it. But we’ll have to wait until the 21 September before we are allowed to say it. Fact.

Want to watch the arrival of autumn for yourself? Head out to one of the RSPB’s nature reserves and witness it first hand. Go to to check out your local patch.

Photo credit: Ben Hall (