Oh, the sheer and simple pleasure of late autumn sunshine! I managed to get into the garden today during daylight hours and the skies were pure blue, the wind light, and the garden radiated joy after days and days of grey and damp.

The Robins were in full voice. They are one of those birds that really open wide to let the notes tumble out.

A Grey Squirrel was clearly in need of a sunbathe, and its position of preference was a hang-upside-down spreadeagle on a warm tree trunk.

It wasn't only the Squirrel that was sunbathing; flies are brillliant at telling you precisely where the warmest places are in a garden, so my 'sculpture logs' which I've planted upright in my border turned out to be their hotspot of choice. You can see seven 'bluebottle' flies of some species on this section of log alone, when I saw only one elsewhere in the garden.

It is when the sun comes out that you also get to be thankful that wildlife-friendly gardening compels you to leave seedheads standing. All those gardens where the beds and borders have been cleared will have none of the pleasure of sights such as this Viper's Bugloss, and hopefully it will also provide shelter and seeds throughout the winter for wildlife.

And my final sunny surprise, despite the air temperature being barely 8 degrees, was to find a Red Admiral, slightly worse for wear, but flying about strongly in my Nettle patch. Meteorological winter might be only two days away, but the combination of butterfly and sunshine made it feel that autumn is not done with yet.

Anonymous