I noticed today that my magnolia is budding... I don't remember this happening before in Sept, is this normal?
Yes, the flower buds will start developing from now on...but will sit for the cold of winter, ready to open in the spring.
Have a look at Hazels... the male catkins are there already, waiting for spring.
I have a Magnolia which has produced occasional flowers throughout the summer this year. Most peculiar
In previous house my magnilia frquently had flowers in late summer.
The fluffy buds should be forming now, just like camellias, they need extra water to help them during the late summer if they are young trees.