I've noticed a resurgence in many flowers in my garden, with a healthy crop of new leaves and flower spikes pushing up from the lupins that I only cut back a few months ago, expecting them to lie dormant until the spring. I'm not the only one noticing this, with the BBC posting an article and a separate video on the topic. It's fair to say that it's been an odd year weather-wise with extreme heat in May, a lacklustre 'summer' and now heat again as we head towards October.

Apparently we're also in for a colourful Autumn more generally, as the weather patterns should result in vivid leaf colours, which are already apparent in many cases.

Autumnwatch returns to our screens from Friday 7 October at 8.30pm on BBC Two. The big news this time around is that Kate Humble is no more and will be replaced by Michaela Strachan, hence reforming the Really Wild Show dream team with Chris Packham. I fully expect Terry Nutkins to get involved next year! Martin Hughes-Games reprises his role as the likeable layman – kind of like Alan Davies on QI.

The live shows will be coming from the National Arboretum at Westonbirt for the first four weeks, then the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s Slimbridge reserve for the final four.

More information courtesy of the BBC.

Here's a few things I've noticed of late:

  • There have been a lot of Seven-spot ladybirds around, and I've hardly seen any Harlequins this year compared to last. Perhaps it's just a local thing. Maybe even even local just to my garden.
  • The conkers are falling off the trees and the leaves are turning – autumn is upon us. Doesn't time fly!
  • The bird feeders have been largely devoid of any action for many months now. I can only assume that natural food supplies are plentiful so they have no interest in the feeders. Or I've killed off all the local birds by failing to clean the feeders as often as I should. Or next door's cat has killed off all the local birds (plausible).
  • Wasps just haven't been as irritating this year. Normally August and September are the time to be driven out of the pub garden, or your own back garden by an onslaught of wasps intent on your food or drink.
  • Even though there seems to have been a lot of heavy rain over the last month or two, the garden often seems extremely dry with plants wilting. Which just shows how much rain it takes to redress the balance after a long dry spell. Actually the BBC reported just today that some areas are still officially in drought.

I blogged recently about the Sexton beetle, and mentioned the little brown mite that you could just about see in my original picture. By happy coincidence a correspondent from Scotland emailed in the far superior picture above showing many mites, and very clearly too – thanks Jenny!

She was surprised to see them appear fairly suddenly on this beetle, it having been devoid of them in a previous picture before it crawled onto what I am told is a fungus (though it looks far worse). Perhaps they were hiding on the underside of the beetle, or maybe they only climbed aboard once it got to the fungus? We shall probably never know, but they are thought to use the beetles as a means of transportation between feeding sites.

I don't know why but I've seen a lot of these around recently – perhaps it's the time of year. This is the first I've seen inside the house, so I swiftly captured it in a pint glass to be photographed. I had to be quick because they're pretty swift across the floor! Maybe it has been eating the woodlice that also seem to have been swelling in numbers of late, though I'm not sure which I'd prefer scurrying around the living room.

It is, as the title suggests, a Devil's coach horse beetle, notable for it's very short wing cases (elytra) and long, flexible abdomen which is curls upwards when threatened. It can also emit a nast odour from the end of the abdomen and can give a painful bite. In the photo above you can just about see the very fine hairs that cover it, reflecting a shimmering green from the abdomen.

As well as my never-ending supply of woodlice, it eats worms, other invertebrates and carrion. The Rove beetle family, of which it is a part, is so called because they are always on the move. It gets its own rather dark name from various superstitions linking it to the devil. The wikipedia article has more information on the name.