It continues to be a glorious autumn with warm, sunny days and cold nights.
There are lots of birds on our sunflowers every day now. Some goldfinches and chaffinches have joined the bramblings. Those seeds aren't going to last very long!
Over the summer, we've been carefully sieving out all the ground elder in our forecoming farmer's garden. We've found a lot of these small metallic clusters. I had a concern that these might be lead as they're quite heavy. Yesterday, we received a parcel of lead testing swabs and we've confirmed that they're not lead. Our control sample was this (very) lead toy soldier (dated to around WW1) that we also sieved out. The swab turned bright red with this and stayed yellow for the metallic clusters, so we're now satisfied that we've not going to get poisoned from anything we grow. The history of this area would suggest that this is iron slag. There was a blast furnace not far from the house a long time ago - so these would be quite old. Much as I would have liked this to be silver, I don't think they'd have left so much of it lying around.
The whole weekend has seen glorious autumn sunshine. Last night was our first strong overnight frost, but it quickly warmed up and we sat out in the sun.
This huge sparrowhawk, probably a female, was trying to attack a jay, but the jay fought her off.
Our first brambling of the year was enjoying our sunflowers. We haven't seen any at our bird tables yet, so they must prefer the natural source.
There were a lot of insects flying. Yesterday we saw a brown hairstreak butterfly but I didn't have my camera with me. Today we had a new insect species for the garden, this male ruddy darter. There have been quite a few silver Y day flying moths around too, but they're quite difficult to photograph, but this one rested for a while.
Lastly, with Halloween approaching, our sunflowers are getting into the spirit and had a witch picture on one of the leaves.