In mid-September there’s still some summer left, and I don’t have to walk far from home to find it. The small copse by the green looks autumnal, but remnants of summer are everywhere. Most flowers are in seed, or have faded away, but there’s still some colour. In the lush understory, white greater willow herb seeds blow in the breeze, and there are still flowers on some of the taller stems. A few speckled wood butterflies compete for sunny glades, whilst small whites seem to pass by quickly. Ragwort, with just a few leftover faded blooms, give a touch of yellow, but the vegetation is mostly green now, and slowly turning into shades of golden brown. Thistles, going to seed, attract noisy goldfinches, many in juvenile plumage, and clearly independent of their parents.
Swathes of the dreaded Japanese knotweed sport delicate white flowers. These invasive plants have spread dramatically in the copse over the last few years, and with little will, and few resources available to eradicate them, will probably take over most of the copse in a few years’ time.
A sizable flock of blue and great tits feeds noisily in the canopy of ash trees, and I hear a willow warbler and a nuthatch amongst them. It’s been another good year for ash seeds, which hang heavy on the tips of many branches, but I fear the consequences of ash dieback when, and if, it finally reaches Gower.
The sun has brought out dragonflies. Southern and migrant hawkers patrol the shaded paths, and beautiful crimson-bodied common darters sit motionless on a few stones. I came looking for colours of autumn, but it’s these magnificent creatures that steal the show.