Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Merging of the Seasons

An October baby, I love my birth month: it's gentle-warm sun and the way we value the shortening daylight hours. I also enjoy the gradual changing of colours as autumn seeps in and leaves fanfare farewells.

This Croston Finney morning began with powder blue skies. Summer hovered in full fields of maize, and wild pansies quietly persisted amongst the rustle of barley waiting to be cut. Later, the stubble fields, bales and temporary clouding-over showed autumn's easing in. The trees, too, were straddling the seasons; some green, some yellow, some bearing only keys.Vocal skylarks celebrated the bounty of the fields. They approached two hundred in number and there was plenty for all. Over a hundred goldfinch likewise mustered for chatter and food. Crows, rooks, jackdaws all filled the sky with caws but none so loud as the grey heron's rasping croaks.

Common darters still danced over boggy fields where three wintering snipe were flushed by my presence. How rapid their wing beats; how stodgy my steps! A small white (butterfly) also floated by.
Back on a track. Yellow hammers perched on the telephone wires, their faces bright as summer suns. Corn buntings were harvesting the stubble, their numbers yet to increase. And the hedgerows held out their hips and haws for the redwings who have yet to arrive.
October, my birth month, I love.

OPAL Survey

I've recently been working with a group to complete a clean air survey organised by OPAL (Open Air Laboratories). It involved measuring tree girths, counting fungal spots on sycamore leaves and identifying lichen on oak, ash and sycamore trees. The survey doesn't take long to complete and you could easily complete it in a local park or open area. What's more all the ID charts and materials you need are provided - a great teaching resource.
Why not take part - and let's see how clean the air in all areas of Britain is. There's lots of other surveys to complete too. Go on, try one...

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.