Thursday, 29 August 2013

September Calendar

The month for preparation for harvesting, hibernating and migrating

Events this Month

  • Moon cycle
  • New moon 05/09/13
  • First Quarter 12/09/13
  • Full moon 19/09/13
  • Last quarter 27/09/13
  • Autumn Equinox 21/09/13

Things to do

Make a compost heap, with all the leaves beginning to fall and lawn trimmings and pruning done in the garden, it makes sense to create great fertiliser for the springtime. You can also recycle your kitchen waste and if you’re very lucky your compost heap might even be adopted as a winter hibernating space by a hedgehog!

If you haven’t been feeding the birds all along now is the time to clean out the birdfeeders and clear off the bird table to encourage our little feathered friends to visit our gardens.

You might be interested to use a bug/bat/bird box for the colder months, now is a good time to put them up so the insects/mammals/birds see them and become acquainted with them before it gets too cold. 
The bugs don’t need much encouragement to take over the bug hide but sometimes a queen bee can avail of this safe haven to hibernate over the winter months.  Also the garden friendly insects need somewhere to over winter also, like the ladybird or lacewings that help us keep down aphids on our plants. One is easily made by tying small lengths of bamboo canes together and putting somewhere dry and sheltered if possible, making sure the canes are horizontal so the rain doesn’t get in.  A nice bunch of twigs and sticks tied together can be put in the undergrowth for bumblebees as they prefer to be on the ground. Another idea is a plant pot with drainage holes and put in some leaves and turn upside down, the bugs will enter through the drainage holes!
Bats and birds will use nest boxes to shelter in, some nest boxes have been known to hold at least 17 starlings and even 30 sparrows!  If you have one up already clear it of nesting material and make sure there is a clear flight path in and out of the opening, e.g. encroaching ivy.  If you are about to put up one this is the best time of the year to do so.  Between 2 to 3 metres from the ground is suitable for most Irish species.  Facing to the most sheltered direction for your area make sure the box is slightly tipped forward so the rain runs off the little roof.

Hedgerow Treasures

The hedgerows are bursting with fruit in the shape of blackberries, haws, sloes, crab apples, rosehips and elderberries.  All are edible and I’m sure many of you have enjoyed eating these fruits or bringing them home to make jam.  Our wildlife also enjoys this bounty.  Blackbirds and thrushes gorge on the berries and snails and beetles enjoy the windfall finds on the ground.  Little wood mice also like our blackberries and haws.  Opportunistic badgers are attracted to the snails feeding on fallen fruit.  So get yourself out there, bring the camera, and a lunchbox for your hedgerow harvest!

Moth Discovery

One lovely thing to do with the younger family members before it gets too chilly in the evenings is to set up a moth trap.  By trap I mean draping a white sheet over the clothesline and shining a torch on the sheet to create a “stage” for moths and night insects to land on.  They are attracted by the light and you can get to see all the different types and species that fly about in the evenings. Take plenty of photos!


Once again we will see the swallows and swifts gather on the telephone lines getting ready for their long trek to sunnier climes.  The ospreys will also leave and the puffins and gannets may well spend the winter out at sea.  This means we must welcome back the Brent and Canada Geese, Bewick and Whooper swans as well as many more waders and shore birds.
Join us for our event Waders & Shore Birds Walk on Sunday 8th September 8 from 11am – 1pm at the Windmill in Blennerville, Tralee, Co Kerry where Frank King will lead a group along the Blennerville shoreline to identify and observe the various birds species present.

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