We often describe autumn as being a mellow time – referring to the muted seasonal tones and an apparent lull in activity by many species. But don’t be deceived by the relative calm in your garden. There’s a whole lot going on…
Autumn’s when birds are free of some of the more obvious pressures from earlier in the year. Rearing young and moulting are done with. And with few territories to defend and no mates to attract, birdsong dies down to a relative whisper.
You’ll have noticed everywhere that 2016 has delivered a bumper crop for berries. Together with seeds and nuts, they’re welcomed by birds and mammals intent on cramming in the calories to build up fat reserves before the weather turns colder.
Ivy is something of an underrated garden plant. From a bird’s point of view it offers evergreen cover and shelter for nests, with its dense foliage serving both as a windbreak and effective umbrella against the rain. It’s also one of the last plants to flower, providing welcome pollen and nectar for bees, wasps, hover-flies and butterflies.
Spiders are a vital part of every healthy garden ecosystem, and autumn certainly seems like a particularly spidery time of year. They’ve been here all along, of course, quietly getting on with the business of catching other insects and growing steadily larger and larger – so now’s the time we notice them.