We are encouraging people to connect with nature throughout the year. Every month will have a different theme and we will be promoting resources and activities on this page as well as publicising related projects and events.
Please join in and let us know what you’ve been doing to connect with nature and help wildlife.
September: Autumn wildlife
September is a month of great change for wildlife. As summer begins to make way for autumn the nature around us adapts to its changing surroundings. For many plants, insects and some mammals, autumn is a time of slowing down, of shutting down. It’s all about changing where and how they live in preparation for the great annual emergency - winter. For many birds it’s about arrivals and departures, some flying south in pursuit of food and warmth, while others arrive from the Arctic for a mellower winter.
If you want to help wildlife get through the winter, discover 10 simple things you can do. As autumn turns to winter, many of us pack up our gardening tools and head indoors, paying little attention to our outdoor space again until spring. However, even in the depths of winter, our gardens should be bustling with life. Throughout winter, gardens across the country continue to provide a lifeline for many of our native species, especially if we make a few easy adjustments that will make all the difference to the wildlife on our doorstep during the colder months.
Stay wild and take action for wildlife at home
The Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
The RSPB gives you ideas for activities and will help you to plan simple tasks ‘perfect for your patch’ whether it is a window box, outdoor space or garden.
The Woodland Trust has gathered some ideas to help you and your family enjoy a summer visit to a wood near you. Woodland Trust woods in Cherwell include:
Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre
You can also share your wildlife sightings with staff at the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) who will add them to their database and make sure your records are used in local-decision making.
Oxfordshire Mammal Group
Find out about a variety of mammals in the County including the hedgehog. In Oxfordshire, hedgehogs (listed as European hedgehog) are widespread but declining and known records can be seen on this County map.
Kirtlington Hedgehog Street
Kirtlington Hedgehog Street is connecting gardens in the village to give hedgehogs enough space to breed and to help keep them off the roads. Why don’t you create a hedgehog street in your local area?
More about hedgehogs
More information about hedgehogs is available from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
Our swifts come back from Africa in late May and quite possibly there will be some nesting near where you live. You may see them when out walking, flying low over roof-tops or making screaming calls as they go. No other British bird behaves like this. It’s an indication there are nest sites nearby. You might even be lucky enough to spot one returning to its nest hole under the eaves of a building.
How can you help?
The population of Swifts is nearly 60 per cent lower than it was 25 years ago. In 2021 it was moved onto the Red list of birds of greatest conservation concern (along with house martins and green finches) because of this decline. So Swifts need all the help we can provide or they will vanish from the UK. In colder wet weather they feed over local ponds, lakes and reservoirs but on fine days they will be high overhead, feasting on flying insects.
Noting down when and where you see swifts can help the Cherwell swifts conservation project by increasing knowledge of local populations, enabling the protection of nest sites and asking for new ones in buildings through the planning process. Swift bricks can be included in the fabric of new buildings, including home extensions, and nest boxes can be fitted to existing buildings.
Please send any records of birds going into nests, screaming parties and low-flying swifts to Chris Mason, the co-ordinator of the Cherwell swifts conservation project. If you are interested in putting up a nest box, or including Swift bricks in a new build project, Chris is able to advise on what, where and how.
See the Wild About High Fliers guide to learn more about these amazing birds - as well as swallows and sand/house martins, why they matter and how you can help them.
The Summer months are a great time to look out for bats. Did you know we have 16 species of these flying mammals in the UK? If you go outside at dusk on any warm evening you can have a good chance of spotting tiny pipistrelles, a brown long-eared or a Daubenton's flitting around and catching insects. Find out more including all about a year in the life of a bat.