We carry on with our Aire Valley autumn rainbow blogs- this week looking at all the gorgeous oranges to be seen while out and about. If you missed our first blog on all things red, have a read on our community blogs page! 

Let's kick off with an Aire Valley staple- the sunset

It turns out that sunsets at this time of year are actually better than during warmer months and here's why. 

At sunset, it is harder for blue light to reach our eyes, being a short wavelength and having more atmosphere to travel through.

This means that blue light gets filtered out, making oranges especially more pronounced. 

So there you have it- it's scientific fact that Autumn brings some particularly great sunsets.

What better time to get out and snap some sunset pics!

 An orange that definitely can't be missed in Autumn is the lovely orange leaf litter you'll see. Some varieties of trees found in the UK, such as beech, turn a beautiful burnt orange at this time of year, almost like nature's last explosion of colour before winter sets in. 
As you can see at this time of year, leaves changes from their normal bright green during spring and summer, into a variety of earthy reds, oranges and yellows.

But why do they do this?

The main reason is thought to be the saving of resources.

Trees stop making chlorophyll (the pigment responsible for the green colour of leaves) and this green fades away, revealing the lovely tapestry of autumn colours for us to enjoy.  

Leaf litter- Ben Andrew                                                                                                                              Bearded tit- Barry Carter

Wildlife-wise Autumn offers some lovely oranges too.

At St Aidan's you can still see the orange breast of a stonechat (who's numbers have been fantastic this year) or if you head to the wooded areas of Fairburn Ings you might be rewarded with a nuthatch sporting those signature chestnut sides.

Both sites at this time of year offer a chance to see the beautiful kingfisher as they head 'inland' after spending the summer breeding along riverbanks. Keep your eyes peeled for that flash of movement. 

But perhaps the star of the show for 'orange wildlife' in the Aire Valley is a bird that has eluded many- the bearded tit (pictured right). These small birds are reedbed specialists- meaning they can generally only be found in reedbed.

Both Aire Valley sites have bearded tits and as we head into winter it is arguably the best time of year to see them.

Bearded tits feed on insects in the warm month, which keeps them quite low down in the reedbeds. As the availability of insects dries up in colder weather bearded tits switch to feasting on seed heads, meaning they have to venture higher up into the vegetation and so are slight easier to see (we can't promise anything of course!)

We hope wherever you are you enjoy this little glimpse into the Aire Valley in Autumn,

Nicole. 

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