What to Look For
Most of the breeding bird activity is over, but in most years there may be a few terns and Ringed Plovers still with dependent young and some broods of Tufted Ducks may have only just hatched. Many summer visitors will be departing as others from further north move through. At dusk and high tides there may be large roosts of Sandwich and Common Terns at Ternery Pool or perhaps the odd Roseate or Black Tern. The water levels in the shingle pits are generally lowest at this time of year, providing muddy margins for wading birds. This is the best month for many species including Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit and Little Ringed Plover. The populations of ducks on the larger pits also increase as they flock together to moult after the breeding season. These include Teal, Shoveler and often a few Garganey.
The Little Egret roost at Castle Water will be building up to its autumn peak and there is a good chance of seeing a Marsh Harrier or other scarce raptors. In the fields Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear numbers start to build up, whilst the scrub supports increasing numbers of warblers such as Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. Most Swifts will have departed by late in the month. Throughout the month there is a chance of a rarity turning up – recent years have produced Semipalmated Sandpiper, Red-rumped Swallow and Gull-billed Tern.
The Least Lettuce continues to flower and late flowering species emerge such as Autumn Lady’s-tresses, which is common in some years at Castle Water. Many commoner plants will still be in flower such as Viper’s Bugloss and Wild Carrot. A great variety of moths will be on the wing including two of our rarest – the Plumed Fan-foot and Jersey Tiger. Commoner species will include Large Yellow Underwing and Common Rustic. Diurnal visitors are more likely to encounter the Grey Bush-cricket as it emits its quiet, yet distinctive song along the Beach Reserve. Many dragonflies will be active including Black-tailed Skimmers and Emperors. Migrant Hawkers are a typical autumn species and will become much commoner during the month.
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