As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it’s a sure sign that autumn is on it’s way and winter won’t be far behind.
The changing of the seasons mean lots of changes in nature. Animals get ready to hibernate, the leaves fall from the trees, birds migrate to warmer climates. It’s also a great time of year to get out for a bracing nature walk. We’ve put together a checklist of autumn signs you can look out for as you go.
How many can you find?
Autumn signs checklist
- Leaves turned from green to red, yellow and orange
- Geese flocking in their characteristic V-shape formation
- The first ripe conkers or horse chestnuts
- The first sighting of the beautiful red and white Fly Agaric mushroom or toadstool (but it’s poisonous so don’t touch!)
- Ladybirds in your house or inside buildings
- Nibbled hazelnuts which might be a sign of the endangered Dormouse
- Horse Chestnut tree leaves turning brown and crispy early, which could be because of an infestation of the leaf miner moth
- Blackberries on bramble bushes
- Sycamore ‘helicopters’
- First frost on the ground
- Deers rutting (but stay clear and don’t get in the way!)
- Hedgehogs hunting for food
- Acorns on Oak trees
What to do with the data?
There are lots of things you can do with the information you gather.
How about creating a large poster or collage in your classroom, charting with pictures all the different things you’ve spotted on your walks. Or you can create your own nature calendar: pop up a large calendar, then add a note or – even better – a drawing or picture to represent the first time you spot any of the things on the list above.
All of these sightings are also very helpful for scientists and researchers, who use them to see how things are changing in nature year after year. You can add your sightings and updates to the Nature’s Calendar website run by the Woodland Trust, and find out how things have changed each year.
Hedgehog via Creative Commons by Igel01