Autumn in the woods

The heavy sky and brilliant yellow of the trees bring a bit of drama to autumn

There’s so much food in the wood at this time of year – sloes, hazelnuts, crab-apples, rose-hips, elderberries.

More for the birds and squirrels than for people, and generally the squirrels get all the hazelnuts before any people can get near them.

This squirrel was nibbling a wildlife camera set up in the woods for a week. Although we’d hoped to spot hedgehogs and badger, mostly we got blurred edges of something or other.

Some very wet weather in September made heavy work of hedge-cutting and mowing the paths with the rough cutter.  But we managed to open up one of the bridle paths that had got really overgrown over the summer.  Its one that follows the hedge between the wood and the field – west facing so catches the evening sun.

Of course, autumn is the time for finding mushrooms.  We did a Fungi Foray on a rather damp day in September, sheltering under the trees from the rain and wind.  Didn’t find anything edible, but still a fascinating talk from Chris Knowles, who’s an expert mycologist.

On the warm, sunny days, even as late as October there’s been plenty of birds and butterflies about. A sunny day brought out this stonechat in the field bordering the wood.

The large amount of nettles in the woods can be annoying when they’re overhanging the path but they do attract the Red Admirals and, occasionally, Commas.  Lucky to see them both on same plant though.

The still water in the pond is a great spot for damsel flies and dragonflies, even quite late into the year if the weather stays warm.  This common darter was spotted in October.

By late October, heavy rain flooded the paths and ditches, creating new streams through the birch trees. Water was gushing down the new drainage ditch, so the woods didn’t stay flooded for long. Nothing as bad as last winter though, when the river rose over 10 foot and washed away a bridge.

Early November was our last maintenance day of the year, and the colours on the beech trees and aspen were at their best.  We cut back some of the saplings and overgrowth near the path – to try and make it easier to mow the edges next spring.