bird watching birds garden wildlife house martins migration natural pest control swallows wildlife

Mad Autumn Moments with Martins

Six weeks or so ago our flocks of martins suddenly departed southward and the swallows gathered on the telephone wires above the road passing the front of our house. They chattered and fidgeted, stretched their wings and tails and preened busily ensuring that they were in the best of trim for their long migratory adventure.

Then one day the skies were silent and the wires empty.

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But a week later as we were working away in the garden borders we heard excited calls overhead and dozens of swallows were swirling around just above shrub height. They were so close to us as they enjoyed a feeding frenzy. They must have been en route south from further up North, Scotland or the Lake District perhaps, when the big old oak tree in the paddock behind us and the gardens of our little group of houses called them down. This place meant insects to gorge on to refill and prepare themselves by stocking up for the next leg of their long migration. As we watched stunned by their excitement, their noise and flying acrobatics, they were joined by an equal number of house martins.

They periodically stopped in mixed groups on our roof ridge to chatter and catch up on the latest migration news. For us of course there was the added bonus of all those garden pests being hoovered up by gaped beaks. Great pest control!

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Now in early October they have definitely all gone. We miss their constant chattering in the sky above the garden and await their return in the Spring.

autumn birds garden design garden photography garden wildlife gardening hardy perennials ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs photography poppies roses Shropshire

A Wander Around Our Garden in September

September is a month I love for the richness of its colours which are intensified by the lower light of early Autumn. But It is a month I dislike as it marks the end of summer and initiates the dropping of temperatures. I enjoy watching the fruits and berries ripening and their changing colour. I am saddened by the silence in the sky as Swallows and House Martins leave us for warmer climes. Leaves begin to show signs of changing their colours too and in September we are given hints of what is to come.

Throughout the September garden we find individual buds and flowers hanging on after the thrusts of the summer lush display. Droplets of moisture sit on the blooms as the first frosts melt away.

These little gems of individual blooms which are flowering out of season add so much colour to the borders, flowering alongside those plants which are traditionally the true flowers of September. Two flowers which we look forward to in early autumn are Lobelia tupa and Salvia uliginosa which display unusual colours and shapes.

The light in September creates a different atmosphere, no longer the direct overhead light of the summer. Now there is increased contrast between light and shadow.

Our grasses begin to come into their own in September. Their seedheads glow and their colours get paler and more silvery.

I shall finish my September wander with a few plant portraits.

The garden is still full of colour, texture and patterns but is missing the life flying above it. The Swallows, House Martins and Hobby have left the daytime sky quieter. At night we miss the cries and calls of the Little Owls even though at times we curse them for keeping us awake.