Is it autumn yet?
I'm never quite sure when autumn is supposed to start, but after a short walk around the Island today (29th September) and despite the glorious sunshine, it's definitely not summer any more.
The whole colour palette of the Isle of Wight has changed for a start. The golds of the late summer harvest have gardually changed towards more
muted brown tones, that are punctuated with bright bursts of yellow, reds and blues where ever you look. In just one short walk, lasting less than a couple of hours, I was amazed by the wildlife and plantlife on display.
I managed to get a few good photos of anything that was kind enough to stay still long enough, which included a vibrantly coloured Red Admiral butterfly as well as its slightly less dramatic, but equally lovely Comma (apprently named for a small white mark on the underwing). There are many birds of prey to enjoy watching, including buzzards and kestrels, whilst swallows and house martins seemed to be frenetically feeding on insects brought out by the warmth of the Isle of Wight sun. I expect they are feeding up for an impending long flight south. There were moorhens flitting about on a small farmhouse pond and clouds of rooks everpresent overhead.
It was confusing to see bees still propagating flowers on blackberry bushes whilst others were fully in fruit and still more had already gone to seed. This, I expect, reflects the odd weather we've all experienced this year, just like the rest of the UK. Record sunshine levels on the Isle of Wight can only do so much!
There was even one dragonfly, which darted about along the footpath from Nettlecombe to St Lawrence, although it was impossible to get a good enough look to even attempt an identification let alone take a picture to share.
Like almost any walk on the Isle of Wight, you also benfit from passing some unusual and intersting buildings as well as a pub or two. The White Horse in Whitwell is one of the country's oldest pubs, dating back to the early 1600s and is a fine place to end up after your ramble.
The sun was shining all day long with hardly a cloud and although it was clearly much lower in the sky than a month ago, it demonstrated what a fantastic destination the Isle of Wight is for an autumn short break.
Apologies for any details that are not quite right. We'd happily be corrected on any detail via either Facebook or Twitter.
by Dean Culver