Monday, 3 October 2011

Falling Leaves

I can't believe how fast this week has gone! It's Monday again and I went for my weekly canal walk. I was lucky with the weather again too. Even though it had been raining all morning by the time I went out at 2:30pm it was a sunny day, although quite windy.

The wind was blowing lots of leaves out of the trees and the canal was almost covered with them in places. Most are still green but they're slowly turning yellow and some lovely oranges and reds. It's amazing how many different shapes and colours the leaves can be. Another colourful sight was all the wild flowers that are still out. Maybe it was last week's warm weather but I'm amazed how many flowers are still in bloom, even though it's October now! I saw three different types of purple flowers (the Himalayan Balsam I talked about last week is still there) and some white ones too.

There was still lots of birdsong all around but I think the birds must have been hiding today as I didn't actually see many. I did see mallard ducks, moorhens and pigeons and I'm sure some of the birds singing were sparrows but that was it.

Four red admirals on the ivy-can you see them all?
Even though it was windy there were other things flying around. I paused by a large ivy bush and noticed lots and lots of hoverflies moving from flower to flower. I shouldn't have been so surprised as I'd recently read September's Bug of the Month on the Buglife website, which is all about the golden hoverfly and it's fondness for ivy at this time of year. More on Buglife later in the week.
To my surprise, as well as the hoverflies, there were about six red admiral butterflies on the ivy. These big butterflies are really beautiful-although a few today looked quite tatty and might have survived a fight with a hungry bird at some point. When I looked them up on Butterfly Conservation's great website I discovered that red admirals are actual migrants. Last week I was impressed that house martins fly from Africa, I'm much more impressed that some of these butterflies do too!

As a walked back along the canal I tried to see whether anything had changed in the past week. There were definitely more fallen leaves and those in the trees still are definitely changing colour. It wasn't as warm and there were lots more berries on the hedges. I saw blackberries, haws, hips, sloes and plums, all just out of reach annoyingly. On the left below are pictures from last week and on the right are today's. Can you see any big differences? I can't get but I'm sure I will as the weeks go on.
Week 1
Week 2

Week 1
Week 2

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