Changing Seasons – October

Month ten of my photographer’s nature journal.

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

October has been a mixed month. We didn’t go very far as we had the builders in during the last week of September and into mid-October, replacing the horrid polycarbonate roof with a new solid ‘warm’ roof and very large Skypod lantern so that we still kept the light. We are hoping that this will make the previously useless conservatory into a more usable Orangery! We have taken to eating our lunch in there. Watching the dairy herd make their way along their track to the dairy to be milked and trying to identify the little birdsย returning to the garden looking for feeders – Chaffinches, SBB (Small Brown Birds), Robins, Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Pied Wagtails and Wrens have been spotted.

The weather wasn’t so good during the first week of October as we were shrouded once again in thick fog and the Cornish mizzle. On my birthday we escaped to the coast only to find glorious sunshine. The following week Storm Callum hit and we were battered for several days by fierce winds and torrential rain. A gap was exposed in the flashing and rain once more entered our Orangery.


Then we hit a lull. Quiet days. Still days. Sunny and unseasonably warm days. Sheep out in the green fields. Flocks of small birds racing by our windows.ย  Trees are losing their leaves, though not as quickly as in previous years. Shiny berries hang in the hedgerows and Fungi sprout on rotten wood and the bracken turns brown. Gorgeous autumn sunsets. Time spent in the garden tidying up and planting spring bulbs. A walk in a nearby NT garden in lovely autumnal sunshine. Evenings in front of the log burner.

Then towards the end of the month the Starlings returned, zipping around in their flocks of hundreds. A sure sign of winter to come and indeed the end of the month saw temperatures plummet by 10ยฐ as a cold Arctic wind blew its way down the coast and the clocks went back. Two years ago during our first winter we saw several flocks of small birds – some were Starlings, others were Fieldfares. Watching them perform their aerial displays was so absorbing. Last year nothing. I think I may have seen one small flock early on in November, but even they disappeared. I hope this year’s flocks hang around so I can watch the murmurations when hundreds of them swoop and swirl above.

Just hanging about on the neighbour’s roof

The Changing Seasons | October


  1. susurrus says:

    Sorry about the flashing, but you’ll get it sorted and it will be lovely to have an Orangery. The cow has a wonderful expression – something about the mouth.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’m optimistic that the roof is sorted, need to get it painted next, but that might have to wait now until the spring. I could have sworn that cow was winking at me – they are such curious creatures ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Your new roof sounds like a winner, Jude. Enjoy using your conservatory more often. Live all your photos, especially the starling gang.๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is still a tad cold inside the orangery Sylvia, but I could put a fan heater on if I felt like sitting in there. It’s a nice spot to watch the birds.

      1. Orangery does sound rather posh. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

        1. I want one too. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. pommepal says:

    I love this lovely description and photos of your autumnal October Jude. Pleased to hear the roof problem has been fixed. An orangery sounds so delightful. Looking forward to seeing some photos of it. Wonder where your birds disappeared to? As you slip into winter and light the fires our temperatures are starting to soar.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is still cold in the orangery as I don’t have heating in there. I could put a fan on if we really wanted to sit inside, but it’s not really necessary. Most of the plants I have in there are resting over winter now ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. pommepal says:

        Good to have somewhere for your delicate plants to spend the winter

        1. Heyjude says:

          The pelargoniums loved it in there last winter, they pretty much flowered all the time, which exhausted them as they didn’t flower as much in the summer! Some people remove them from the soil and keep them bare rooted. I just know I will kill them if I do that. I might cut some down though.

        2. pommepal says:

          Never heard of bare rooting pelargoniums, I think That would kill them too. Mine are not flowering very well at the moment, they are all big bushy leaves, look healthy but I would like them to flower

  4. bushboy says:

    I would love to see a murmuration one day

    1. Heyjude says:

      The really big ones are pretty spectacular.

      1. bushboy says:

        I have only seen the huge flock videos. One day perhaps……..

  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    One snowy winter in the 1980’s a flock of fieldfares stripped my pyracantha completely, but I didn’t mind it probably kept them alive.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Haven’t seen fieldfares yet. None last year either.

  6. Chloris says:

    Lovely autumn post and pictures. I never see starlings here now or lapwings. Where have all the lapwings gone?

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have only ever seen a lapwing once and that was winter on the Cley salt marsh, north Norfolk.

      1. Chloris says:

        We always used to see them on the fields round here, but not anymore.

        1. Heyjude says:

          That’s sad, I wonder why they have disappeared.

  7. Sadje says:

    So nice to read about the changing weather on your side of the world. Love the beautiful pictures.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Sadje. Changing weather is very much how you’d describe it down here!

  8. Stunning pics Jude. It sounds absolutely idyllic apart from the temperature :-0

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    I found your month end wrap up buried in my email. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of ups and downs in weather – in other words, typical autumn stuff!

    How has your renovation of the conservatory been going? Is everything finished now?
    … and what is the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?

    1. Heyjude says:

      Don’t mention weather Jo. In fact don’t mention the orangery either! Let’s just say there are still issues with the weather and the roof ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
      Difference? An orangery has more of a solid roof whereas a conservatory is usually a glass roof (or in my case a polycarbonate roof). Neither are suitable for all round use unless they have their own heating system. You might as well burn fivers as they are not generally well insulated and because of all the glass the heat dissipates quickly.

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        So sorry to hear about the challenges with your orangery. Bummer. I thought you had resolved your roof issues ๐Ÿ˜•
        Thanks for the explanation. Obviously I have neither ๐Ÿ˜

        1. Heyjude says:

          No, but you have a swimming pool! Which I nearly have! Rain driven in by the wind – there has to be some way of stopping it.

        2. Joanne Sisco says:

          The winds have been wild here all year. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The night before last I wondered if we were still going to have a roof in the morning.

          I hope they find the solution to your problem. A leaking roof is one of those things I stress about.

        3. Heyjude says:

          At least this is only in the conservatory so not a big issue as I mainly use it for plants, but disappointing because we have spent a lot of money and still not resolved the problem.

        4. Joanne Sisco says:


  10. Forestwood says:

    I do like the beautiful photographs in your post. And that is a great quote, with which I totally agree. Autumn is a fabulous season, and I will take the fog too! Love a good fog (which I rarely get here).

    1. Heyjude says:

      You can have too much fog! We are high up so often get lost in fog/mist/cloud whilst the rest of Cornwall is in the sunshine!

      1. Forestwood says:

        Then I must come to your part of the world sometime. I can never have enough fog! There is something cosy about it. Funny how we like what we don’t have!!

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