Posted 1st September 2018
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, a falcon that looks rather like a small Peregrine, 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 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.
This is a medium sized dragonfly that can be seen from August to October (but some individuals July to early November).
The overall impression is dark, the male having a dark abdomen with bright blue spots, brown thorax with relatively narrow yellow stripes, and blue eyes. Females are brown with yellow spots. Both sexes have a prominent yellow 'golf tee' triangle on abdominal segment 2.
Prior to the 1980s historic records show that this species was, as its name suggests, a migrant to Leicestershire and Rutland, but from the 1980s it has become a widespread species and a familiar sight during its late summer flight period.
The Migrant Hawker breeds in a variety of well vegetated aquatic habitats and is also recorded well away from water, along hedgerows and woodland edges.
Photograph: Male Migrant hawker (Neill Talbot)