… and Autumn came with golden wings

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Although I think the Goldfinch is one of our most charismatic garden birds, with their flashy red and gold plumage, it was their raucous squabbling juveniles that distinguished them this morning.

However, whilst it may have been the noise through the window that first drew my attention, it was the sight of them that had me reaching for the camera …

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and although the Goldfinches have the advantage on the Niger feeders …

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… it seems the Greenfinches and sparrows got to the sunflower feeders first!

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Just a step outside …

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Saturday the day started misty and the sky has remained grey but, although the ground remained damp underfoot, the rain held off.

I was enticed outside by the cacophony of the Starlings, calling from the fir trees at the back of the garden, and the twitter of Sparrows which had amassed in the Elder tree. I took a stroll around the borders and was pleasantly surprised to see how many of the flowers are still in full colour, their red and yellow blooms mixing with the changing colours of the autumn leaves

DSC_0574 (2) the Rudbeckia and the Sunflowers fill the borders with colour and last weeks sunshine has brought the Dahlia into bloom DSC_0613

and although the Hawthorn was sporting masses of bright red berries,DSC_0607

there were a couple of surprises which seemed, to me, a little unseasonal  DSC_0608 new buds on the roses

and the bramble in the hedge  DSC_0606 (2)   DSC_0605 (2)

I filled up the seed dispensers and, although the Starlings had moved on, the Sparrows and the Blue Tit stuck around for quick round of photos …

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Autumn magic in the garden

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I always think there is something magical about Autumn with the early morning mists and the dew sparkling like diamonds from the fine silk of the cobwebs

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The arrival of the Chiffchaff

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Chiffchaff

Chiffchaff

and the Blackcaps

– female (above & below left), male (below right)

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Blackcap (female)

And Piebald – the resident leucistic Blackbird –  feasting on the ripening berries of the Elder and the Hawthorne

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Piebald our leucistic Blackbird

Catching up in the garden

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Although I do love sitting and appreciating the colour and diversity in the flower borders, I also find it fascinating to get up close and see the stamens and pollen which attracts all those wonderful bees, bugs and butterflies to my garden.

So I have been trying to capture some of it with my camera.

Take the Feverfew, with it’s pretty daisy like aspect DSC_0166

but up close you can see the mass of tiny tubules

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And likewise the Cosmos DSC_0022 (2)    DSC_0068 (2)with their pollen capped flutes

Then there’s the Geberra DSC_0158 (2)

which first appear as soft,downy heads

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The Rudbeckia DSC_0170 

which also, when seen close up, reveal little fluted tubes with pollen caps.DSC_0170 (2)

The Sunflowers DSC_0171DSC_0172

And the rather amazing Ragwort,DSC_0094 which, when first opened look like sealed bulbs,  which then open out to allow access to the precious nectar and pollen withinDSC_0094 (2)

And the Zinnia  DSC_0162 (2)

which has many tiny florets which make up DSC_0162  the flower head we normally see

Then we have the awesome Teasel headsDSC_0011 (2)

DSC_0011 (2)  with their spines DSC_0011 (3)   and their cones

which house their tiny florets that blossom out like tiny fountains DSC_0010 (2) in patterns around the heads

Then there are the Allium

DSC_0082 a globe of tiny florets DSC_0054 (2)

And, there are the  masters of the wind, which sing softly as I sit and take in all the beauty of the colour of the flowers… The Grasses

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which use the air to deliver their pollen. Tiny wisps with stamens wave in the breezes of the summer and ripen into tiny power packs of seed, which help to feed the birds throughout the Autumn and winter months.

Watching Swallows at the Top of the World

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We made our way up the steps DSC_0256

(and, as we did, it did not go unnoticed that it seems to take both me and the dog considerably longer these days than it used to!)

…until we reached “The Top of The World”!

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–  No, really, that’s what it’s called!

Because from up there, on a good day, you can see some amazing views of the Shire.

At the top we disturbed a flock of finches…

Disturbing the finches, at The Top of The World

Disturbing the finches at the Top of The World

What's this?

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Greenfinch

Greenfinch

  They had been feasting on the seed heads, produced by all those beautiful meadow flowers, which adorn the heathland throughout the summer.

Of which, now, only the Knapweed and Ragwort were still in flower

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Knapweed

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Knapweed

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Ragwort

I confess that I was disappointed by the lack of Butterflies.  But it was late in the afternoon by the time we got there, and it was not that warm, so I shouldn’t really have been that surprised.
Instead I was rewarded by another of natures wonders.  For high above in those blue skies of  late summer,  the Swallows still filled the air with their screams, and they seemed to  dance as they swooped and dived above our heads.
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As I watched I couldn’t help thinking how they appeared to be simply revelling in the sheer joy of their flight, as they chased the myriad of bugs that they caught and ate on the wing.

Signs of a season changing …

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Making our way down the lane, past the hedgerows, I couldn’t help notice how many signs of Autumn were starting to appear.

The berries are already ripening and the fruits and nuts are all swelling fast. Is this the signs of a long harsh Winter I wonder …

DSC_0339 the acorns are already filling their cups, DSC_0210  and the rose hips are ripening,DSC_0333  as are the Hawthorne,

and with the appearance of the new, green Alder cones,DSC_0211DSC_0240 the swelling of the apples,  DSC_0241DSC_0161 and of course the Blackberries which are already providing us with a healthy harvest

At the Waterside

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Monday morning walk 021   From the overhanging branches of the Willow, the gently caressing leaves creates swirls and eddies on the surface of the water. It is here, like a sentinel, the heron waits. Patiently mimicking a statue, where the river runs slowly and the shade provides respite from the glare of the mid summer sun.

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But at the  bottom of the meadow,  along the edge of the water, a bejewelled king fishes the tumbling waters. A flash of larimar blue and amber chest, with sparkling diamond  water drops cascade from his wings, gleaming in the sunlit rays, as he rises from the water.

DSC_0107  And where, as waves of water gently lap onto a beach of mud,  the Water Voles stop to feast on stems of water rushes and fescue grass.        DSC_0098

After a change in the weather, when the Spiders took to the air.

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We’d had a few storms over the previous couple of days. They had brought the wind with them. The sky was still summer blue and the sun shone just as bright but some of the warmth of preceding weeks heat wave had been lost.

The flowers in the meadow had taken a battering. Broken stems and blooms laying limp in the grass. The grass itself had not fared much better, great swathes flattened.

Although the grass was dry, the soil underfoot was still damp from previous nights rain. The butterflies were in abundance though.

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Small Tortoiseshell

The small Tortoiseshells were warming in the sunshine

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Speckled Wood

while several Speckled Wood made their way along the hedgerow.

The spiders had been busy too, the spiderlings throwing out their guide lines into the breeze and being whisked off. Far beyond the hedge they flew, some even beyond the tallest Hawthorne trees but all high up into the blue sky. Fearless they rode the air currents, not knowing where they might lead or what dangers they might encounter.

We strolled on, the dog and I, making our way to the far end of the meadow and into the woods on the far side. The Long Tailed tits were there to greet us, chattering away they criss-crossed between the branches of the tallest trees. Their numbers had been swelled by the addition of all this years juveniles which had now fledged.