As the nights become colder and we say hello to autumn, RSPB England's, Oriole Wagstaff reveals some great days out in nature this September. 

Whether you’re desperate to get out and explore or are searching for something a little closer to home, there is plenty to enjoy in nature this month.

First up, welcome some waders

September is one of the best months to spot an array of unusual birds that are travelling through England on their journey to warmer places for winter.  One such group of birds are the wonderful waders.

Waders are birds that often walk (wade) along shorelines searching for food in the mud or sand. They set off from places like Scandinavia, Russia and parts of Europe in late summer, some stopping off in England for a pit stop, to re-fuel for their journey further south, whilst others stick around in England to see the winter through. Millions gather along our shores displaying a range of amazing beaks, differing in size and shape, specialised for finding the right invertebrate food in the mud. Sifting through mud might not sound appetising to us, but it provides a feast for waders, many of which have flown thousands of miles to search for these tasty treats. From the long, thin and curved beak of the avocet to the striking rusty red chest of a knot still in summer plumage, these unusual characteristics make waders a particularly special sight throughout September. 


Avocet Walking on mud. Credit: Chris Gomersall

 Plenty of our reserves across England are fantastic places to see waders. Check out our tops spots to find your nearest one below:

 Be careful to keep you distance both on our reserves and around the coastline, as disturbing the flocks can use up their energy reserves, decreasing their chance of survival.


Large knot flock wheeling around in the sky, RSPB Snettisham. Credit: Kelly Thomas

 Why not witness the roar of a deer rut!

As the largest land mammal in the UK, red deer are natural gladiators.  September and October are the perfect time to watch their display of dominance, as males lock antlers in a bid to win the affection of the females. Listen out for their frighteningly loud roar-like bellow. Did you know that red deer antlers can measure up to one metre!

For the best places to so see and hear a deer rut on our nature reserves, try: 

  • RSPB Minsmere(Suffolk). Head to the visitor centre where the team is now outside to welcome you, and give you the latest tips on spotting these ruts.
  • RSPB Leighton Moss (Lancashire)
  • RSPB Arne. There may not be many red deer here but listen out for the obscure call of the sika deer. (Dorset)



 Red deer, two stags doing battle during the rutting season. Credit: Ben Andrew

Or stay put on your doorstep

If you’re looking to enjoy nature a bit closer to home, here are three things you can see and do from your home, garden, or local green space this September:

  •  Make a butterfly banquet

Keep your eyes out for small tortoiseshell butterflies. With fewer wildflowers in bloom this time of year, tortoiseshells are likely to visit gardens and public green spaces to find flowers to drink from. To attract these beautiful beasties why not make a butterfly banquet, using old bananas to give them a sugary treat they will lap up. Find out more here.

Small tortoiseshell butterfly feeding on corn marigold. Credit: Jenny Tweedie

  •  Watch squirrels and jays hide nuts away

Keep your eyes peeled for squirrels desperately gathering nuts and hiding (you might even say squirreling) them away to eat during the winter months. And squirrels aren’t the only animals that you might catch doing this. With their electric blue wing stripes, normally shy jays become much more visible in September, as they venture out in search of acorns on the ground. You can catch them hiding acorns in many different places, from under leaves to holes in trees. A single jay can store as many as 5,000 acorns to build up their food store for the winter.


Ground feeding table with Jay feeding. Credit: Nigel Blake

  •  Behold the berry bonanza

September sees berry season in full swing with brightly coloured fruits covering many of our hedges and trees. Look out for the bright berries of rowan, bramble and hawthorn, not only do these provide a splash of colour as the we enter autumn but also vital food and shelter for hundreds of different birds and insects. How many different berries can you spot this September?

Bohemian waxwing, adult feeding on rowan berries. Credit: Ben Andrew

Looking to help nature? Click here to create your personal plan and we'll suggest six simple activities to help you give nature a home where you live.

Shop for nature:

With face coverings required in many places at the moment, including the buildings on our reserves, why not head to the RSPB online shop and search ‘face coverings’ to check out some of our nature themed face masks.