Off Canvas

A skein of around 120 Pink-footed Geese were heading West over Abernyte on the morning of 23rd September 2021 about 11 am. They were the first we saw this autumn. The Pink-feet can be recognised by their fairly high pitched double "pink pink" call. They are also the first arrival of autumn migrants that we've seen. We didn’t hear of any Fieldfares or Redwings until quite a bit later, although by the beginning of November sightings of those were becoming more frequent. . The Tawny Owls have also become much more vociferous, calling from trees and telegraph poles as the late summer moved into autumn. We have yet to see a Brambling, one of my favourite autumn migrants, although we have been hearing Jays calling their rather scratchy “raucous” call from some of the trees in the village. They seem very shy and difficult to spot, the usual sight is a white bum flying away from you. They share this characteristic with the (much smaller) bullfinches, which have also been coming in to feed on Rowan berries in the garden. Although not always popular, the Jay does a very useful job when it plants acorns on the hill, thus helping oak seedlings to become established.

It is a great autumn for berries, although a terrible one for apples, which does not bode very well for the Fieldfares. The local hedges are covered with Haws as well as it being a good fruiting year for Rowans and Brambles. If you have flowers and fruits on your ivy, this is a useful source of autumn and winter food for insects including bees, wasps and butterflies as well as birds. The Red Admiral butterfly – that lovely large beast with red and white markings on a dark background- is often to be found nectaring on ivy flowers in the late summer and autumn.

Sadly it is quite some time since I saw my last butterfly of the year. But happier news is that we have a new species in our area, the Speckled Wood. Even better, this butterfly seems to have taken up residence in Kinnaird where it was seen by several people, and one was seen in Abernyte, as late as 20th September. This is a butterfly to keep your eyes open for next year! We hope they may establish more breeding colonies in our area.

We did not receive many wildlife reports this autumn but many of the migrants are later than usual and the relatively high temperatures may be delaying their appearance in the UK.

Postscript: This was written in November for the Inchture Newsletter, but since then Bramblings have certainly been seen around in Abernyte!