With my start-of-the-month blog now linking to the main RSPB e-newsletter (which is now known as Notes on Nature), I'll be bringing you a little wrap-up of what's happening in the world of garden wildlife.

I'll be sharing a bit about what I've been getting up to, giving my predictions of what you will see in your garden this month, and suggesting some of the things you might like to do to help wildlife where you live.

So here we are into September: meteorological autumn has begun! Astronomical autumn doesn't start until the autumn equinox on 22 September, whereas it certainly feels like autumn out there already, with hedges dripping with berries, some leaves starting to turn and almost all our Swifts now well-gone from our shores.

I've had the pleasure in the last month of attending an Open Gardens scheme in East Sussex, where my good friends, Sue and Darren Vallier, were one of many gardens opening up to the public. Sue is a wonderfully natural gardener, in all senses of the world, so their garden was advertised as being wildlife-friendly, with plants chosen to help pollinators.

What it means is that people visiting the gardens get that extra message that a wildlife-friendly garden can look amazing.

You can see that Sue's passionflower is in good fruit, and its flowers are surprisingly good for bees. And Sue's new wildlife pond, which is barely six months old, is also awesome:

What to look for in September

Even if the Swifts have gone, the Swallows and House Martins are only just thinking about it, beginning to line up on wires. This one below is a young bird that allowed me to get quite close, quite fresh out of the nest and still with the yellow 'gape' along the bill edges, which once the bill is open says to its parents, 'I want food!'.

Wherever you are in the country, you have a chance of seeing Common Darter dragonflies, which keep on emerging this month. This is a photo I took a few years ago, but it shows how they seek out places where they can get the most out of the weakening sun, and a fence panel works wonders for allowing them to line up, lie back and bask.

Given that it's now autumn, I ought to include a creature named after it, so here is the Autumnal Rustic moth, which indeed comes out at this time of year, and I'm pleased to say is found from Lands End to Shetland and across into Northern Ireland, so gardeners across the country have the chance to look for this beauty.

I had several records of Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my garden this summer. Hopefully many of you will have had chance to see one, too, zipping from flower to flower is the most precise aerial manoeuvres, somehow managing to poke its immense uncoiled tongue deep into flowers

But have you seen one stationary? See if you can spot it in this photo.

I'd better give you a close up to help. Yes, once it closes up and sits still, it is really rather drab, but brilliantly camoflaged.

What to do this month. September is a great month to:

  • tie in rambling roses, and you can prune them, too, taking out a third of old stems to ground level, but leaving hips to ripen where you can
  • trim Yew hedges, now the breeding season is over
  • lift and divide large clumps of wildlife-friendly perennials, creating new plants to fill borders or give to friends
  • mow or scythe areas of longer grass, if you haven't yet done so, raking off the cut material for the compost bin.

And if you are unsure of when to leave grass to grow long and when to cut it, here is our Giving Nature a Home page with simple instructions of what you might like to try in future.

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