Although there was some lingering summery weather in late September, we are definitely into autumn in October. Even so, you may still see the odd butterfly on warmer days; these are likely to be species such as Peacock that over-winter as adults and will be the first to appear in spring. Unfortunately, this is 5-6 months away, so enjoy them while you can.
Most of the summer migrant birds have now left and we can look forward to the arrival of the winter visitor birds. Usually, the first are flocks of Redwing, which often arrive during the night but can be detected by their thin, high whistle. Often they can arrive in large numbers that are very hungry and can strip berry bearing trees such as hawthorn in a few hours.
The Redwing is slightly smaller and darker than the Song Thrush and easily identified by the red mark under its wing. If you see a flock of thrushes feeding in bushes or on fields, they are almost certain to be Redwings.
As the leaves start to fall, you can see fungi around the site, especially after damp weather. Some of the fungi such as the birch bracket fungus can be seen all through the year but is far more obvious in winter. You can see them on the branches and trunks of many dead birch trees around the site. If you are lucky, you may also see the classically coloured Fly Agaric on the woodland floor. This species is poisonous, as are several others so if in doubt, don’t pick them!
If you would like to find out more about fungi at Risley Moss, you can join a local enthusiast on an introduction to mushrooms and toadstools and learn some funky fungus facts and some foraging skills in the woodland. The event is on Sunday 11 October, starting at 10:00 (See events for more details).