September is the first official month of autumn although, with luck, it can feel felt like an extension of summer.
Autumn bird migration continues throughout September and the Trust’s wetland nature reserves such as Rutland Water, Cossington Meadows, Wanlip Meadows and Kelham Bridge are the best places to experience it.
The Hobby is a summer visitor from Africa but stays here until quite late in the year and can sometimes be watched catching and eating dragonflies in the air. This superb flier could be seen at any of the nature reserves mentioned above.
As the month goes on there is an increasing chance of seeing birds that will stay with us for the winter, such as Fieldfares and Redwings.
Some dragonflies are still on the wing and if the weather is good large numbers of some of the large hawkers such as the dazzlingly blue Migrant Hawker can be seen.
If the weather is wet, fungi become more obvious as they start to produce their fruiting bodies. Charnwood Lodge and Ulverscroft nature reserves are particularly good places to look for fungi such as the common but striking Fly Agaric. A large mushroom, it has a red cap with white spots and is poisonous.
Species of the month: Hobby
The Hobby is a falcon that looks rather like a small Peregrine. About the size of a kestrel, it has long pointed wings and a rather short tail, rather like a giant swift in flight.
Capable of high-speed aerial manoeuvres, it catches most of its food in the air and will chase large insects and small birds. Prey is often caught in its talons and transferred to its beak in flight. On the menu are dragonflies, moths and beetles, swallows and martins.
Caption: Hobby c Jon Hawkins www.surreyhillsphotography.co.uk