According to my diary the 23rd September is the "official" date on which autumn commences. Up here near Inverness conditions are certainly quintessential from the point of view of weather.....some misty mornings, mellow, sunny with odd showers and breezy conditions aiding the commencement of leaf-fall. Some cereal fields have not yet been cut, but others are finished already, with straw bales now awaiting collection. As yet I've seen none of the usual wintering goose flocks in evidence, but I suspect their arrival is imminent. Many of the fields demand a second look, as with extremely short stemmed crop varieties being used nowadays it's difficult to determine whether odd fields are stubble or remain uncut. The days of "waving fields of corn" are now despatched to history it seems, but with the memory of those circumstances being depicted in some of the great landscape paintings of the past.
As might be expected finch numbers are evident with the calls of Chaffinch ever present, mostly from unseen birds, as autumn movements proceed coupled, contrastingly, with the absence now of the few hirundines which were present earlier in the week. The usual complement of hedgerow and woodland birds abound locally, including a nice flock of Yellowhammer, but the Tree Sparrows usually present in the immediate vicinity are obviously using a different area altogether as none are in evidence.