Reasonable weather for much of this period kept some of our summer visitors hanging around and we still had Chiffchaff and Blackcap in the garden well into October. Goldfinches have started feeding on the Teasel heads in front of the Visitor Centre window giving good views.

Butterflies were also active with Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Gatekeeper seen. At the end of October we found a Peacock butterfly hibernating in a flower pot in our tool shed.

Gatekeeper by David Lee

On warm days a common lizard was seen warming itself on the wooden framework of one of our raised flower beds.

Field grasshoppers were plentiful but we also had a Roesel’s Bush Cricket which although quite rare is having a rapid expansion of its range in recent years. This is one of ten different species of cricket that we get in the UK.

Rabbit, Red Fox and Grey Squirrel were pretty regular and our compost bays again proved to be a draw when a family of Field Mice were found to have moved in to one of them.

Our Pyracantha is laden with berries and we are hoping that our winter thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwing will sample them. Last winter 80+ Starlings descended on the shrub and gorged their way through the lot in 2 days! No table manners at all.

Last weekend’s high winds have brought on premature leaf fall but is a reminder that summer is behind us now and autumn well underway.   

How is your wildlife garden looking?

Clive Woodward - Head South Essex Wildlife Gardener

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