Autumn colour on its way in Spalding and district

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The end of summer is here but we can start to enjoy the beginning of glorious autumn colour, writes Robert Enderby of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

September heralds the transition from summer to autumn.

Through late August and early September farmers hurry to gather in the harvest as the growing season comes to its end.

Meanwhile, in the wild parts of the Fens around Spalding and along the coast, migrant birds start setting off towards the south before cooler weather sets in.

These birds are replaced in October and November by birds that have bred further north.

Another sign of this transitional time is fungi appearing in woodlands and berries becoming ripe in the hedgerows.

It can be great fun to pick wild berries for jams and gins. However, this should be done with caution as some are toxic to us.

Never eat anything from the wild unless you are certain it is edible. And never take the entire crop; always leave some berries on the tree for wildlife.

Many birds, like arriving flocks of fieldfare and redwing, like to feed on berries such as hawthorn and blackthorn.

Another fun activity at this time of year is picking apples and making apple juice. Apples are abundant on apple trees so if you have a lot in your garden why not use a small manual apple press to make your own apple juice? It’s fun, tasty and healthy!

Apple trees are also a great place to look out for wildlife.

In preparation for the cold months ahead, mammals, bats and birds feast on fallen fruit and the insects inevitably attracted to them.

A seasonal favourite, mistletoe, is often found on apple trees – spread by mistle thrushes and other birds that feast on its berries.

Other trees showing signs of the changing season include horse-chestnut trees, which are one of the first trees to shows signs of autumn colour as their leaves begin to change from green to brown in September.

They also start giving up their seed at this time as conkers start falling to the ground in their prickly green cases, another fun activity and one that has engaged youngsters with the natural world for generations.

Children who like to do arts and crafts will enjoy collecting beautiful coloured leaves on an autumn walk and then sticking then creating their own picture.