August and September can be a hectic time of year for many, with the harvest to bring in (between the showers) and Autumn just around the corner.
The countryside makes a move from high summer to later summer, with the fields, hedges and trees beginning to look parched and bit tired. Some trees, such as lime, have already begun to turn yellow and drop a few leaves, possibly due to the very dry weather earlier in the year.
Although tired, this is the countryside’s most bountiful time. Many fruits, nuts and seeds are beginning to ripen, providing the resources much of our wildlife needs to survive the harsher months of winter.
Blackberries, haws and elderberries entice many of our small mammals, insects and birds down to feed. Rowan berries being a particular favourite of bull finches. Many plants we may consider to be weeds, like teasel, provide an abundance of seeds for birds such as goldfinches, who manage to land delicately on the dry brown stalks and feed while swaying from side to side in the wind.
In woodlands, grey squirrels impatiently open green hazel nuts, not leaving much for other wildlife, including the rare hazel dormouse, who rely on such a rich source of food to survive the winter underground in hibernation.
After the summer breeding season, birds undertake a moult, in which they replace their tired old plumage with a new set. Birds are very vulnerable during this time and will rarely sing. However, now in late summer, robins and wrens are beginning to sing again. They make an earlier start then other birds as they need to secure winter territories to ensure their survival.