For once the papers have got something right. Shock horror! It doesn't happen very often, but on this occasion they are correct. I know it is, because I've seen it for myself.
Whinchats and wheatears lining in rows on fences, waiting for the 'all clear' night. Yellow wagtails gathering in groups around cow dung, in search of duty free. Menacing gangs of starlings lurking on rooftops mugging unsuspecting wood pigeons in backgarden diners. Hundreds of whitethroats drunk on blackberry juice - purple poo used as evidence. Thousands of swallows and martins forced to sleep over night in cramped reedbed departure lounges. Hobbys and sparrowhawks ambushing said hapless hirundines. A brown shrike VIP (very important passerine) receives fast-track exit visa, while local birdy dude is stuck in Midlands detention centre.
What can this all mean? Has the BNP finally taken over the asylum? No.........it means winter is coming, time to put the shorts away for another year.
I've also been watching clouded yellows this autumn. On one day at a coastal site I counted them flying past at a rate of one a minute for half an hour. Then a little later what were possibly the same lot flying back again in the opposite direction. Why? Chill-out fellas, take time to smell the flowers - give us a chance to sketch you. Update. Noar Hill clouded yellows much more relaxed - must have been on the nectar.
Apart from a naughty boy singing his hiccough song in my head for most of the autumn and having an uncontrollable urge to sing Status Quo numbers whenever Dan Downs is giving his weather forecast on the local news. Most of our time has been taken with interpretation for the Wildlife Trust.
If you're expecting words of wisdom from Dan and Rosemary you may be sadly disappointed. However, if you want to keep up to date with our current projects then pick up the feed at the top of this column.