News and media News items [01.09.17] Around the Countryside this September Autumn is now upon us, bringing more wet weather, humid conditions and decay, recharging the countryside for spring. However, the months of September and October often give clear fine days with spectacular sunrises above low-lying mist in the dips and valleys of the southwest landscape. The countryside has begun to turn deeper shades of yellow and red as the tired, deep greens of summer begin to reseed and vegetation begins to die back and become dormant ready for winter. As the leaves begin to yellow, many seeds, nuts and berries are ripening in the hedgerows and woodlands. The seeds of Ash, Sycamore and Field Maple develop wings, which help carry the seed away from their sources, increasing the likeliness of germination and establishing a new generation of saplings. Species like Oak must rely on other species to help disperse their seeds. Squirrels and Jays hoard the nuts and store them for the colder months of year. Inevitably some of the stashes are forgotten allowing the acorns to germinate. Birds, now fully moulted and in their winter plumage, can often still be seen in family groups, making the most of the seasonal abundance of food. Hedgehogs can often be found in gardens and along hedgerows hunting for unsuspecting slugs, earthworms, snails and beetles, fattening up for a winter hibernation and still bringing up the last litter of hoglets. Butterflies can still be found, often quite ragged and tired looking, as they enter the last few weeks of activity. Gatekeepers, in particular, can be found patrolling hedgerows, guarding the valuable late season nectar sources in their territories.