Autumn Days

We’re now a week into October and it really feels like Autumn now. The temperature is dropping, especially at night, and the leaves are a rainbow of colour. This plant that grows on a wall at the end of our street always looks magnificent at this time of year.

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The local horse chestnut trees are producing lots of conkers too, most of which are collected by local children.

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I’ve seen the River Avon cygnets a few times lately and they are looking more and more grown-up each day. They look like grey adults now but there’s something magnificent about them.

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The swans weren’t the only juvenile birds in this area as I saw this young Grey Heron fishing on the Avont too.

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I was surprised to spot some stonechats on the farmland not far from my house. I’ve seen plenty up in the New Forest but never so close to the town. I can’t really explain why they came down from the forest though- perhaps to take advantage of an untapped food source.

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It may be well into October but there are still a handful of butterflies around. I’ve seen three different species today (8th October)- a Red Admiral, some form of White and this Speckled Wood.

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Last weekend I visited Blashford Lakes again and as usual there was plenty to see. My first spot was a load of Harlequin Ladybirds crawling around some wooden fence posts.

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I saw lots of fungi but the only one I hadn’t seen before was this Cep (Boletus edulis).

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Apparently this is one of the most tasty mushrooms according to foragers. Mushroom foraging is banned in the New Forest and I know that Blashford Lakes support this view. It’s much better to be able to enjoy the fungi if they are not picked by others and is of course better for the local environment.

There was lots of activity at the Woodland Hide with the usual tits and finches:

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Chaffinch/Goldfinch

I also captured this Nuthatch living up to it’s name:

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The thing I love most about Blashford is that you never quite know what you are going to see. Often it’s something fairly ordinary but still nice to see, like a rabbit or a coot.

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Sometimes you might see something more exciting, like a shoveler:

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But it you’re really lucky you might see something really special, like a kingfisher.

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I am so pleased with this picture. I know it’s not a great photo, but it’s the content I love. It felt like a real achievement to finally capture a kingfisher on camera. It was so lovely to get a proper look at one too. Usually if you see a kingfisher you see little more than a blue blur as it flies away. This one sat on that stick for a good few minutes so I was able to sit and watch it for a while. It was a real moment of delight.

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