Yorkshire Life : 2020-10-01

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AUTUMN GLORY further north in Scandinavi­a come to the UK to spend the milder winter months here. Wigeons are a key one in Yorkshire, and are a regular at most local RSPB reserves (try Fairburn Ings in Castleford or St Aidan’s in Leeds). You’ll also get pintails, teals, goldeneyes, tufted ducks, shoveler and gadwall. And keep an eye out for birds of prey at sites such as Fairburn Ings and Bempton Cliffs. Autumn and winter are perhaps the best seasons for seeing owls such as barn owls and short-eared owls.’ Want to help the birds in your own back garden? ‘Autumn is usually a time when birds have access to plenty of food in the form of nuts and berries,’ says Sydney. ‘So just keep a little fresh food in your feeders, so that as birds pass through, they will see food is there and return when it gets colder. The best type of bird feed is a mix of high-quality seed, fat and mealworms. Ensure you have some late-flowering plants, such as Michaelmas daisies, sedums and asters. Let perennials form attractive seedheads, and include some native plants in your garden, such as crab apple, holly, elder, birch or hawthorn. All of these are natural food supplies for birds.’ ABOVE: A lapwing flock in flight over autumn fields ABOVE RIGHT: The redwing prepares for autumn RIGHT: The serene barn owl – an autumn visitor LEFT: Gorgeous harvest colours of pumpkin and squash SOMETHING SPOOKY At the end of the month, our thoughts turn to Halloween, and after a particular­ly tough year, Yorkshire’s farmers need our support more than ever – so why not pick your own pumpkin? In light of Covid restrictio­ns, make sure you check the websites and always pre-book. If you’re in West Yorkshire, head to Farmer Copleys in Pontefract ( which is running its annual pumpkin festival on dates throughout October. They have planted more than 130,000 pumpkin plants in preparatio­n, in a rainbow of colours, and there is a sheltered carving tent on site, so no need to make a mess of your own kitchen. Look out for appearance­s from the ‘Not So’ Wicked Witch and enjoy a toffee apple, cinnamon doughnut or crepe LEFT: Pumpkin fun at Farmer Copley’s farmercopl­eys.co.uk), Yorkshire Life: October 2020 39 Š

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