The first week of September started with warm sunshine and there were still lots of large dragonflies around the wildlife pond. The garden birds however, were now quieter now apart from the house martins which were feeding young in the nest cup outside the kitchen. Large numbers of house martins and swallows were feeding over the garden on the second of the month due to the large numbers of invertebrates that emerge from the meadow grass there. The most common butterfly around the garden was still the green-veined white, but both comma and red admiral were also noted from time to time. A single bank vole was seen most days picking up sunflower hearts from under the bird feeders outside my office window and later in the month it was joined by a second. On the 6th two young house martins were seen being fed by one of the adult birds up at the nest cup. I was so pleased to see at last that house martins had nested successfully with us for the first time and I really hope we will see them again next year! The weather at the end of the week was cool and stormy with a huge electric storm on the 5th and amazing clouds into the evening and overnight.
At the start of the second week the young house martins were very visible in the nest cups and being fed frequently. A single jay was seen in the garden on the 7th with an acorn in its beak but was not seen again which was unusual as it is a common species here on account of the oak woodland on our boundary. Also that day a chiffchaff seen feeding in the alder buckthorn outside my office window. On the 9th the weather became cooler and damper and butterfly numbers were lower although there were still a few green veined whites around. On the 10th a large number of house martins were seen flying past the nest and looked as if they were trying to encourage the young to leave! The parent birds were still at the nest every day and feeding the youngsters frequently. The 14th of the month was warm and sunny but there were now very few butterflies around the garden. A tawny owl was seen flying across the garden at dusk on the 13th,
As we moved into the third week of the month the weather became cooler and overcast but there was no rain. All the usual birds were feeding and the house martins were still using the nest cups – and frequently visiting the two young in the nest. Both swallows and martins were still feeding over the garden with plenty of martins around which is unusual here – swallows are often more numerous here. Several pied wagtails sat about on the house roof over the next few days and the weather became cool, windy, and quite autumnal. Youngs birds started to frequent the feeders especially young goldfinches which were also making use of the teasels in the garden. On warmer days red admirals fed from the Verbena bonariensis which has established itself in the vegetable garden, and green veined whites were common there too. On one afternoon a hummingbird hawkmoth spent quite some time feeding there. Blackbirds started to eat the fallen apples in the orchard and overhead a red kite passed low over the garden several times every day. A couple of dandelions were in flower in the long garden with red admiral and whites taking advantage of the nectar. At the end of the garden the big holly bush there was full of berries which bodes well for the winter thrushes if the blackbirds don’t get them first! The young martins left the nest, encouraged out by frequent visits by other house martins passing by – an amazing sight to watch! Only the odd swallow remained to feed above the garden.
The last of the month week was cold and overcast with drizzle but no proper rain. All the usual early autumn birds were returning to the feeders including several nuthatches. On the 24th a wonderful hummingbird hawkmoth was photographed in the vegetable garden feeding on Verbena bon The 26th was cool damp and windy and very autumnal! The bank vole continued to pick up sunflower hears under the bird feeders and goldfinch numbers started to build up with lots of juveniles around. The weather continued to be cool and overcast and no butterflies seen around the garden. The month finished with the bank vole being joined by a second and the borders were brightened by Japanese anemones in full flower, hopefully for a couple of weeks yet.