October has been a month of notable change at Brockholes Nature Reserve as autumn has continued to tighten its grip. Although, this time of year is frequently associated with abscission and a sense of decay within the natural world, a visit to Brockholes can certainly go a long way towards dispelling this myth. The reserve is currently awash with an abundance of seasonal visitors and fascinating plant life.
What was seen in October?
To commence this marvellous month for wildlife a delightful Redwing was observed perched upon a branch, frantically consuming berries. These enchanting birds are easily recognisable with their orange and cream mottled complexion, and are most commonly spotted during the winter months. Additionally, an eye catching Jay was sighted nestled amongst the undergrowth, with their iridescent electric blue feathers these marvellous birds provide a much needed splash of colour out on the reserve at this time of year.
Furthermore rather wonderfully, one of nature’s true wonders has returned to Brockholes Nature Reserve, in the form of the starling murmuration. Throughout the winter months large numbers of starlings begin to gather at Brockholes from across the continent. As dusk descends the starlings begin to roost, on mass they propel themselves into the air and commence their impressive visual demonstration, before rapidly gliding down into the reed beds to go to sleep for the night. Although currently small in numbers, these resplendent visual demonstrations take place throughout the winter months and are a must see event for any nature lover.
Similarly impressive in its presence, a Whinchat was observed on the edge of Number One Pit. Although not particularly imposing in its appearance, its very presence at this time of year is somewhat astonishing. This small migratory bird has normally long since embarked on its lengthy migration south. Likewise, the latter part of this month saw Brockholes register a monumental first. A magnificent Great Grey Shrike was spotted upon Boilton Marsh, these medium sized birds appear somewhat inconspicuous, however they are incredibly rare with only a small number frequenting the British Isles during the winter months.
Moving into the damp surroundings of Boilton Wood, the woodland floor proved to be a happy hunting ground for anybody wishing to take part in a fungal foray this month. Ranging from the fantastic Turkey Tail fungi with its enchanting pattern, to the sensational Amethyst Deceiver. Brockholes has seen fungi of all varieties burst into life right across the reserve.
To finish the month some magnificent yet often underappreciated visitors were observed at Brockholes. Rather wonderfully a small weasel was viewed scurrying along the path near the visitor village. With their russet brown fur and long slender bodies these delightful little creatures are a joy to watch. Similarly, a Crow was viewed at the side of the carpark, although often overlooked because of their regularity, these marvellously intelligent and adaptable birds really are a joy to behold when observed.