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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wed 8th Oct 2014 - West Green, Yarmouth.

Sue's Photographs.
The "Choppers".

The "Planters".

Carrie's Photogaphs.


Work in progress.


Mark's Photographs.

This week the weather decided to play silly games with us. With a shower overhead at 10:00 and further showers forecasted, everyone decided to get kitted out in the wet weather clothing. By 10:15 the clouds cleared and we were all sweating away in extra layers of clothing...! Don't we just love British weather. The session consisted of "chopping and planting" - cutting back the undergrowth and planting trees and shrubs in the exposed areas along the hedge line to the north of the green. Although we have been back to this venue many times, we are still finding areas that benefit from our attention. By the end of the session, all the planting had been completed and the cut undergrowth was in neat piles on the green ready for collection. The attendance numbers were down a little this week, perhaps due to the forecasted rain? Welcome to the new GG members from St George's, hope you enjoyed working with us.

Carrie's Nature Natter.

October is the month of the equinox, the marker that highlights the changing of the seasons, and usually Autumn is in full swing by now, but this year it has seemingly only just begun.  Colour will be spreading through our hedgerows and woodlands, with hazel one of the earliest native species to turn brown.  Horse chestnut leaves have long since taken on their seasonal hues, sometimes looking quite shabby, but are also the first to create a wonderful bronze spectacle in the bright autumn sunshine.  Other trees such as ash show more subtle colours, turning light green and then yellow.  At the opposite extreme is the beech whose fiery orange and bronze leaves provide us with a spectacular show.

Few birds are heard singing in Autumn, although they can be heard calling to each other as they move around in flocks. The exception to this are often robins, whose autumn song has a sad and melancholy sound.  Sometimes a period of warm weather can persuade song and mistle thrushes to start singing from their lofty perches, which is always a welcome sound as winter starts to close in.  Resist the temptation to over tidy your gardens, as seed heads provide homes for insects, including ladybirds, and will also generate lots of seeds.  These can provide food for birds during the coming winter, while fallen leaves and windfall fruit will attract birds and other animals.  If you can find space for log piles in longer grass, these can provide homes for toads and newts from local ponds.

A particular delight this time of year is the arrival of large flocks of winter thrushes moving slowly south – the redwing and fieldfare, as they travel from their breeding grounds in Iceland and Scandinavia.  Redwings are smallish birds with a prominent white eye stripe and bright red flashes under their wings.  Fieldfares are slightly larger, with slate grey rump, red yellowy speckled front and brown wings.  These large flocks seek out berries, such as on the hawthorns, and fruit especially if the ground is frozen, readily moving around Britain and across the north sea, depending on the harshness of the weather in search of food supplies.

Many thanks to Carrie for the Nature Natter and to Sue, Carrie and Mark for the photographs.

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