I was rather hoping we would have a few more days of summer before it started feeling autumnal. Today feels autumnal and the leaves on my willow seem to be turning brown already. You can use the Wildlife Watch ID sheet to explore and identify our variety of local trees in Orchard Park.
As it gets noticeably colder, those of us with a home and cash to pay for it can turn the heating on to get ourselves through autumn and winter, but wildlife need to prepare to cope as seasons change. We can help.
If you have plants in your garden that shed their leaves, then rake the leaves and leave them in a pile in a corner. You can also add any cuttings from tidying up. Invertebrates will be able to use a sheltered spot like this for overwintering.
If you don’t have any berry producing plants for this year, plant them for next year ready to help feed birds through the following winter Click here for advice from RSPB. Add food to bird feeders – suet cakes are particularly good at this time of year.
Hedgehogs can reproduce any time between April and September, and so for juveniles born late in the year it is crucial they feed up to get them through winter. Cat and dog food (no fish or fish oils) and fresh water can help them to prepare to overwinter. I filmed the talk at the Community Centre by Mary from Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital and will be adding that to the website soon for more practical advice on hedgehog care. I was delighted to see a healthy looking hedgehog in my garden a week or so ago.
OPWPs next activities are being planned at the moment. Our scheduled activity for September was not possible as we couldn’t plant the wild flower area next to the Community Centre due to access issues. October’s planned activities include collecting fruit from the orchard area over by the sports ground – I checked at the weekend and there are quite a few fruits over there, and adding signs about the importance of the wildlife habitats in that area. I’m also looking into appropriate management of the orchard trees. Lush are very kindly doing another Charity Pot Party fundraiser for us during Wild About Gardens Week, and I’m meeting people from Transition Cambridge tomorrow to discuss disabled access to wildlife activities. We’ll keep you updated as plans progress. In the meantime, enjoy the sun which has come out since I started writing this post.