How rapidly summer is speeding by. Evenings draw in and there are many signs indicating that autumn is waiting in the wings ready to creep up on us when we look the other way!

Horse chestnut leaves are in a bad way courtesy of leaf-miner moth. The problem has been around for about fifteen years but there is little sign of tree die-back and conkers seem to be attaining their usual size.

Acorns are prolific with many larger than usual. Berries too are forming good crops and although most birds usually don't begin eating them until later, wood pigeons are already feasting but no doubt there will be many left to greet redwings when they arrive from Scandinavia.

Over-ripe blackberries are attracting wasps and speckled wood butterflies.

Adult swans chase offspring, biting their tails and necks hoping to drive them away to find their own territories.

Black headed gulls are losing their dark chocolate brown crowns leaving just a small black mark behind their eyes.

Robins are singing their territorial songs. At night, tawny owls hoot as they too search for new territories whilst mallard choose partners resplendent in colourful new plumage.

In Bushy and Richmond parks red stags are beginning to voice their far-reaching belching bellows while calls of fallow bucks are softer, rather like coughing burps!

Butterflies, including brimstone, small tortoiseshell and peacocks are entering hibernation so there is much happening in the natural world for us to enjoy just by listening and looking. Pictured is a red stag.