Fómhar is here

Migrant Hawker

I’ve always  thought the seasons were wrong. Mid-December feels  a lot more like  Winter  than Autumn . Early March and even February, in some years, feels like spring.

So too with the beginning of Autumn.  The 21st of September -  the equinox  -  the Astronomical and Cultural start - seems much too late in the year. The meteorological Autumn starts at the beginning of September which is more like it.

I personally like the Gaelic calendar – Fómhar - Harvest  is - August, September, October.  Birders often see signs earlier – July or even June sees the start of the 'Fall’ migration.

I’ve been away on holiday for the last 10 days and on returning to the patch it seems the year has turned. The Swifts have gone, flowers have been replaced by seed-heads.

A Willow warbler was singing – but around this time of year it becomes quieter and much less enthusiastic.  This could be sub-song from a young bird – but it always seems to me to express a slight balefulness – a touch of sorrow that Spring has gone and summer is fading fast.  A Grasshopper warbler on the other hand was still reeling away.

The most noticeable thing that had happened, however was  - ‘thistleworld’.  Several of the derelict fields had turned white and downy with the seeds of Spear, Marsh and Creeping Thistles. It was quite a sight and was obviously being appreciated by the Goldfinches. A very large charm of around 150 wind-chimed their way through what seemed like a thistle-down blizzard.

An Emperor Dragonfly patrolled its empire – the center of the lake -  while Common Darters and a Southern hawker stuck to the margins. Fleabane had burst into flower and Birds-foot trefoil was now demonstrating how it got its name with chicken-claw clusters of black seed heads.


Common Vetch seed pod with interesting herring-bone pattern

Britain's three Commonest Thistles - Spear, Creeping, Marsh -  (in July)
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  1. Its the best time of year I reckon Phil :-)

  2. Yes I like it Warren, but I think 'Earrach' is my favourite

  3. Just stumbled on this, and I find your blog quite lovely. Spending a cold morning reading back through your words.


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