The “mists and mellow fruitfulness” of autumn are invariably heralded by the evocative calls of Pink-footed Geese which start arriving from Iceland and Greenland in September. This year they came early and in record numbers, no doubt encouraged by northerly winds. Derek Forshaw, who organises the goose counts in the Northwest, reported a single flock of 18,000 birds on Scarisbrick Moss on 18th and reckoned there were at least 20,000 in the area. Many could be seen feeding at the RSBP Marshside reserve, joining a much more exotic visitor – a Great White Egret from southern Europe.
The other bird of the month was arguably the Common Buzzard. Not long ago, we hardly saw any but in recent years it has begun to breed here with spectacular success. Thus, Derek Forshaw saw 10 soaring together over Downholland on 22nd, while Derek Williams counted an astonishing 23 Buzzards on a tour of the mosslands.
There are still plenty of wildflowers to be seen on the sand-dunes in September. A visit to Crosby dunes with members of the Liverpool Botany Group was rewarded with the discovery of four young specimens of Dune Wormwood (Artemisia campestris ssp. maritima), close to the original plant that was found in 2004. It’s only other known British locality is a small dune area in South Wales.