It's definitely autumn now, with leaves turning yellow and orange. Ian has been making some floating islands out of old pallets and coir fibre to improve the big pond for wildlife. The Environment Agency gave us the design - and the coir (thanks!). Now I'll have to rustle up enough plants for them. I'll get some seed and cuttings from the one we planted up earlier in the year, with water mint, purple loosestrife, sedges and irises. The new ones won't look much over the winter, but come spring they'll flourish. The fish like to hang out under them, and dragonflies perch on the vegetation.
here's one we made earlier....
Talking of which, common darters are still flying, though this male was taking frequent rests on the bench by the pond. And red admiral butterflies are still on the wing. They like the apple trees near the house, though there's not much fallen fruit this year.
I found a lovely herald moth, with its autumnal colours. They're not uncommon, and fly until November, before hibernating in the barns. But the
real find of the last few weeks was a dormouse, unfortunately dead. It was on the path by the lodges. I suspect the neighbours cats, but have to admit there's no evidence. The silver lining is that at least we know dormice are here as well as in the reserve. We'll build some more boxes for them - they live in the hedgrows and trees in the summer, but build hibernation nests at ground level in the winter. They're scarce, and seldom seen, and are one of the priority species for Devon's biodiversity action plan.
I like cats, and they can't help themselves. So here's a tip if you want to do something for wildlife. Keep your cats indoors at night. You may not be lucky enough to have dormice, but plenty of other creatures will thank you.