September nature notes
PUBLISHED: 17:05 22 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:06 22 September 2014
A guide to what to look out for in the countryside and even your back garden this month
• If you find a patch of brambles, especially on a sunny day, look out for two species of warbler – whitethroat and blackcap. These both migrate south for the winter, so spend this time of year stocking up on food to provide energy for the long journey ahead.
• Fine days are good for spotting the last of the summer’s insects. Typical species still active include grasshoppers and crickets, hawker dragonflies, and several species of butterfly, such as the comma, red admiral and speckled wood.
• For many mammals, September is the month to get ready for the rigours of the autumn and winter ahead. Look out for grey squirrels begin to gather nuts.
• Wild flower-wise, purple is now the dominant colour. Visit Hertford Heath, where heather will be at its best (for details see hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves/hertford-heath). On any piece of waste ground you are likely to see thistles and teasels, which attract birds such as goldfinches and linnets to feed on their seeds.
• Grab the children or grandchildren and go out looking for the fruits of our two different kinds of chestnut, or as they are more commonly known, sweet chestnut and conkers. The first are edible, the second defintely not!