An update from Lindy – our Tour Guide Manager and Conservationist
September at Balfour Winery is just magnificent.
The colours of the summer months are gradually giving way to the golds and oranges at the start of autumn. Berries are abundant in the ancient woodland – blackberries and elderberries provide food and moisture to so many species.
Spiders are at their peak and are busy building impressive webs to attract mates. Crane flies are also visible and these ‘daddy long-legs’ are totally harmless to humans, despite their reputation. The most common we see, entering buildings and clinging to windows, is the Tipulidae. This amongst 350 different species of this insect, has a single pair of wings and a navigation system to help it steer in the right direction.
Spotted in our woodland on a recent walk were common lizards. They too are using the benefit of the recent hot temperatures and are basking in the sunshine. They climb onto our log piles where they absorb the heat from the wood to thermoregulate. The warmer their bodies become, the more active they are and so, this summer, in our unusually high temperatures, they can be seen out and about. A joy to see in the usual cooler UK. They prey on spiders and other small insects and need to build up their nutrients before they hibernate for winter, often happening in October.
Take a look in the woodland and open areas for the start of some spectacular fungi, a sign autumn is coming. Gradually they will increase in quantity and species, but some early examples are common earthball and fly agaric, the perfect child’s drawing, a red toadstool. They like damp and chillier nights so this year they may prove elusive until the end of the month and into October when many other species will also start to show.
Join us for our Autumn Nature Tour on Sunday 25th September or come and visit for a free, self-guided walk of the estate.Back to Blog