Time and Tides: September
A monthly column I write for Perspectives Magazine
Sky Events: Autumn Equinox 2020 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 14:30 on
Tuesday, 22nd September. The harvest moon is the first full moon that appears after the equinox, this time the harvest moon is on the 1st of October.
2nd to 7th September - Spring
8th to 15th September - Neap
16th to 23rd September - Spring
24th to 30th September - Neap
Positive Ecological Restoration News:
- Red Kites in the UK
July marked the 30th year since Red Kites were reintroduced in the UK from Spain. After years of prosecution, which diminished the populations to only a few breeding pairs, the species is now witnessed across every part of the UK with a 10,000 strong population.
- Pine Martens showing a successful comeback
Pine Martens have faced extensive prosecution and loss of forest habitat during the past two centuries that resulted in only having a stronghold left in parts of Scotland. The reintroduction scheme in the Forest of Dean in Gloucester is a first of its kind, and after 18 animals were introduced, it has now been revealed that at least 3 females have given birth.
- Bittern Chicks
A first in 200 years. One of the rarest bird species in the UK breeds for the first time.
At the Newport Wetlands nature reserve in Wales, this summer was like no other, as they witnessed bittern chicks in two separate nests. The highly rare and threatened Bittern, once thought to be extinct in the UK, have successfully bred for the first time in two centuries. - Bearded Vulture The Bearded Vulture is one of the rarest birds to witness in the UK. It was no surprise that bird enthusiasts flocked to the Peak District, when it made its first appearance in 4 years this summer, as the juvenile had settled in the national park.
Nature Notes: September 2020
Now is the season where you start to see that a glint of gold is being sprinkled in the woodlands and heavy seed-heads drooping alongside the roads and in our gardens. Contrary to popular belief, the yellowing of leaves is not due to colder weather, but happens because of the slow reduction of daylight and photosynthesis. Harvest time was the busiest time in pre-industrial Britain, the main bulk of work being the weeding, reaping, binding and threshing. The pagan Anglo-Saxons, according to the historian Bede, called September the Haleg-Monath, “Holy Month.” A time for feasting and celebrating the fruits of labour. The hedgerows are full of generous gifts this month with ripened rose hips, cherry, sea buckthorn, bilberry and blackberries. In the spirit of a feast, consider baking an apple and blackberry crumble* to fight off some Corona anxiety. Apples grown and collected now are easy to store over autumn, as long as they are in a cool, damp and ventilated environment, make sure you wrap each apple in newspaper to prevent mould. Birds are migrating to balmier weather and nature is quieting down. The yellowhammer however likes to sing throughout this season. One bird has been recorded singing 3,482 songs in one day! Sadly the yellowhammer’s song is rarer to hear today. Ornithologists tell us that most bird-song is fifty percent connected to mating and warning calls and the other fifty percent is just plain singing. Which means birds sing for pleasure and practice their art everyday. As the combine harvesters are are cutting and turning the fields barren, look out for two large ears behind the haystacks; the hare is easier to spot now especially around dusk - always a delightful event if you manage to see one.
*Apple and blackberry crumble: Stew your apples first, if it’s half a kilo add 50g of sugar and two table spoons of water, cook them until half-done. Then add 250g of blackberries - place the lot in a pie dish. For the crumble: a big ball of butter 150g of plain flour and 75g caster sugar, spread this with joy over all the fruits - then let the oven do the rest for 40 mins. Happy Haleg-Monath!