Monday, 4 October 2010

Autumn watching again

Ah… bright blue skies and early morning sunshine at this time of year is very welcome. Standing below my Acer this morning, I could see the cooler winds have taken their toll on the golden leaves. They are beginning to drop now.


Clicking on images will enlarge them.


This Acer (palmatum 'Sango-kaku') shown above is the favourite tree of my garden. I love its fine leaves and coral red bark and branches that look great during the winter.

This Acer is a favourite with the birds too as I hang feeders from it. Not always the same one though. At the moment, I have a small seed feeder (with sunflower hearts) for birds that can cling on.

Initially this feeder was very popularwith Blue, Great and Coal tits. It still is. However at the moment the Goldfinches seem to have taken over ownership. This all started when parents brought in their young.

Now the Goldfinch Juveniles see this feeder as theirs! Chaffinches try to get space and Greenfinches and House Sparrows can succeed but 9 times out of ten that I look out my window it is Goldfinches that are clinging and swinging!




I’m always surprised at the apparent hardiness of these tiny tropical looking birds. Through heavy rain, winds, sleet or snow they will stay at the feeders when all other birds have gone for cover.

Over the last few days the wind has thrown this feeder swinging around and the young goldfinches just cling on and continue feeding. They have been fun to watch.

Also swinging around in the wind have been Japanese Anemone blooms. They stayed still for just a moment this morning. They haven't been so fun to watch.

Petals are dropping now but there are still a number of buds still waiting to open. Just as the Meconopsis is my fav in Spring the Japanese Anemone is my Autumn fav.



Ornamental grasses with their beautiful seed heads are a wonderful sight swinging with the breeze at this time of year too.

My fav at the moment is Miscanthus sinensis 'Kleine Fontaine' planted to the side of the Anemones above my small rock pool pond. I really enjoy looking out my window to this area just now.



This year I have a few more Anemones with more blooms than in previous years. By gosh, that has brought in many more hoverflies and other insects! They are fun to watch from my window too bringing such life and interest to the area. You can see this in the short video below which has a little background music.



Until now, I never saw the Anemone flower as such an insect magnet and I have considered that these insects briefly brought in a new garden visitor back in the middle of August.

I saw a Willow Warbler (which I suspect may have been a Juvenile) come through this area twice. I caught one visit on video one time but the clip is so very short. Fun to think that my fav flowers became a feeding station for insects and insect eating birds.

Soon the garden will change without any intervention from me. As temperatures drop as will the leaves from the trees. Leaves on evergreen plants will change colour a little like the Bergenia below. The fresh Spring and Summer greens are on their way out.



Perennial plants will soon start to wither and die (like Brunnera Jack Frost below) and as they do they will provide homes for insects and in turn food for birds. This morning it was spider’s webs over this plant that caught my eye.



It isn’t all bad news for foliage in the borders as Autumn begins to claim our gardens. Some plants like the Heuchera below become little jewels in the sunshine and frost covered they look quite magical.



So the season of Autumn watching begins. As a gardener, I have much to do including the completition of my new wildlife pond. I have cuttings to take, plants to lift, divide and replant and... yep the list is long :-)

However as a gardenwatcher, I am relishing in this changing season with new bird and wildlife interest too. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing juvenile birds arriving this late in the year. I’ve had my video camera running and footage will follow in time. I have a plan for that ;-)

For anyone wondering about our visiting hedgehogs I have to report that Hamish has been AWOL for the last couple of weeks. The other male hasn’t been seen either. I’ve continued to put out mealworms and they do disappear… I’ll share what has been happening with them soon ;-)

Now, I wonder if anyone has picked up on my blog title choice? Yep… BBC Two’s Autumnwatch is back again for another year. I’ll guess I’ll not be the only one looking forward to seeing what stories and wildlife they will share with us from around the UK.

I’m delighted to see that they are keeping the format of the programme to one night a week over a period of eight weeks. I am also delighted to see they have changed the night from a Friday to a Thursday. That suits me nicely keeping Friday free for gardening and gardening programmes ;-)

However, also like others, I was sorry to read that after six years Simon King is leaving the presenter team. He is embarking on something new with a new web-based project, the Wildlife Whisperer, which will be going live this autumn. Sounds interesting.

Coming back to BBC Autumnwatch, there is still a strong team there with Gordon Buchanan making a return and a few new faces including Charlie Hamilton-James from Halcyon River Diaries. I enjoyed that series and see they are coming back with a one off Christmas special. Like Gordon, Charlie has incredible patience in filming wildlife.

So when is Autumnwatch 2010 on our screens? Oh, you don’t have to wait too long! Kate, Chris and everyone will be back this Thursday, 7th October, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. It’s immediately followed with Martin and Autumnwatch Unsprung every Thursday from 9.30pm to 10pm. Enjoy…

For those unable to watch this fantastic journey through Autumn I hope you enjoy it in your part of the world :-D


All photos shown above were taken in my garden on October 4th 2010.

12 comments:

ShySongbird said...

Hi Shirl :) I am so sorry to have missed commenting on several of your lovely posts lately but things have not been easy at this end and all in all it has been a strange old year :( I have enjoyed catching up though and was thrilled to see your Hedgehog visitors...then disappointed to see, on this post, that they have been absent recently. I do hope they return to their 'stately home' :) It is some years since I have seen them in my garden, they used to be such regular visitors.

I too find the Goldfinches hog the Sunflower hearts. I totally agree that they look tropical and always appreciate seeing them brighten up the garden.

I also love the Japanese Anemones, they really are stars at this time of year.

How lovely to have seen a Willow Warbler in your garden, I have never seen one in mine and suspect I never will.

I had not realised Simon King was leaving Autumnwatch, does that apply to Springwatch too? I did think he was excellent and will look forward to his new project.

A very interesting post, Shirl! Wishing you a happy Autumn :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I thought of you this past weekend when I was watching the Ryder Cup being played in Wales. I could hear a small bird chirping in the background noise of the broadcast. I was wondering what kind of bird it was.

The anemones do give fall a fancy feel. When all else is shutting down they show their lovely discs to the sun. Happy Autumn.

Gardeningbren said...

So pleased to read your comments on the goldfinches...we seem to have so many this year and the trees are alive with their peeps and chirps.

You are so very lucky to be able to watch Springwatch and Autumnwatch. I can access it from here, but am not "allowed" to view the shows. Enjoyed them at other times when in England in the past, very much.

Thanks Shirl (also for your comments on mb)

Alice Joyce said...

Very impressed by the video - bees and sweet, sweet anemones, not to mention the grasses! Lovely.

Shady Gardener said...

Nice color, there Shirl! I like putting out sunflower hearts (not time, yet, here) instead of the whole seeds. It saves a lot of mess!!

Thank you for this beautiful post.

shirl said...

Hi again Jan I’m very sorry to hear of the year you’ve been having. Blog reading may be a break I guess but don’t let leaving comments trouble you :-D

Yes, don’t know what’s up with the hogs. Maybe with the damper weather they have plenty of food elsewhere. When it gets cold and frosty… I suspect we’ll see them back. Maybe you will too ;-)

Enjoy your garden and birds. Hope you’ll be able to get out to your favourite walks too. Of course, meantime…. Enjoy Autumnwatch. I’m sure you will :-D

Best wishes for yours and your husband’s health, Shx

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa ah yes that was a bit of a wash out in Wales wasn’t it? I can imagine you… imagining what birds they were ;-)

I must get a recording device for mine to help you out there. The video camera doesn’t pick up enough sound. If I record through the window then I cut the sound completely. I’ll see what I can do :-D

Enjoy your Anemones too… and a Happy Autumn to you too :-D

Anna said...

Shirl, I have recently bought Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku ~ it was a bargain buy that I could not resist :) So pleased to read in your post that it looks good in winter too. Yes autumn is definitely leaving its footprints now and it is fascinating to see how different plants respond as the temperatures drop. I am really looking forward to some interesting viewing tonight.

shirl said...

Hi again Brenda, wonderfully through blogging about mine I once added a photo of yours. I can imagine them in your garden now… how wonderfully golden yours are. Quite different from ours :-)

It is an awful pity that you can’t view the shows. I think it would be fantastic if you in Nova Scotia could watch our wildlife here in the UK. I’ll make a comment on one of their message boards on your behalf ;-)

shirl said...

Hi again Alice, delighted you were able to view the video. I’ve edited many over the last four years. I do have fun with them :-D

Yes I agree, its one of these lovely moments to look back on now during the cold of winter :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Shady! that colour is getting better by the hour with the small number of Acers I have. Can’t post photos every day though ;-)

Ah… yes it is the hearts I buy too. Mess by birds must put a lot of gardeners off feeding them. I suppose you just have to move things around if there is a problem and consider what food you put out. We can get ‘mess free’ seed mixes here but not everyone knows to look for them. Like you I find the hearts work best :-)

shirl said...

Hello again Anna, oh you won’t be disappointed with your purchase! Mine is quite mature now. Because of its location (being where my daughters would run past when they were younger) I chose to prune back some lower branches. I like the shape it has become. Enjoy yours :-D

I agree, daily I am seeing changes in my plants. I keep missing opportunities to take photos but then again I couldn’t post them all ;-)

Enjoy the programmes tonight. I’m looking forward to them too :-D