Autumn has brought with it golden light and chilly nights. Belfast is a unique city surrounded by hills, mountains and sea. It is so easy to escape the city and be in nature. Autumn is a particularly good time to walk in the woodlands, the beech trees have an amazing colour way changing from, green to yellow and gold to copper. The woods and hedgerows have been ripe for foraging blackberries, mushrooms, sloes and hazelnuts. Belfast Hills have a handy guide to some of their recommended walks here.
Swallows and Swifts have long gone and some of our breeding Warblers have now migrated, but the many remaining birds are easier to spot among the now bare trees. Ireland is also a key hub for migratory birds so this is a great time of year to bird watch. Snow buntings, Waxwings and Siskins can all be found in woodlands and even in your own back garden.
Less familiar than most small birds is the Siskin. It arrives in Ireland in flocks, mixed with Redpolls and Goldfinches. The Siskin is a quiet bird but has very vivid yellow feathers with contrasting black patches.