This is a good month to see a great variety of birds, as autumn migration is in full swing and winter birds start to arrive. So be prepared to see the unexpected.
Identification can be more difficult with adult and juvenile plumages often being very different. There will be large increases of species such as Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, Linnets, Meadow Pipit and Skylark – and these attract Merlin arriving for the winter.
One of the most visible and spectacular signs of bird migration is when thousands of swallows and martins assemble before flying south, sometimes amounting to tens of thousands in one day. Grey Wagtails and Tree Pipits may be on the move overhead early in the mornings, whilst scrubby areas may hold Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and good numbers of warblers. On a few days you may find the three similar species; Wheatear, Whinchat and Stonechat.
Whilst the summer visitors are leaving, the winter birds are arriving. From early in the month these may include wildfowl such as wigeon, teal and pintail. Greylag and Canada Geese numbers will increase to several hundred and towards the month’s end Brent Geese arrive. At this time you may also be lucky enough to see a Short-eared Owl.
On cool sunny days it’s easier to watch Common Lizards, Grass Snakes and Marsh Frogs sunbathing.
The Migrant Hawker dragonfly is an autumn species and will be common throughout the area, along with the smaller Common and Ruddy Darters. Butterflies will include Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Painted Lady and Meadow Brown. Look for the large Wasp Spider in the grass where there are large numbers of its food, grasshoppers.
Some plants will still be in flower such as Common Fleabane, Scarlet Pimpernel and Yellow Horned-poppy. In the saltmarsh Sea Aster, Sea Purslane and Sea Wormwood will be flowering.