Wednesday, 30 October 2013


A great time to see spiders, cobwebs and gossamer, despite the storm on Sunday night. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Flying home to roost

A huge amount of activity goes on as the sun heads for the horizon. This evening I noticed flocks of jackdaws circling. Quite a few of them were carrying nuts in their beaks. They made dramatic silhouettes against the late, pale afternoon sky.

Crows were feasting on sweet chestnuts.

The swans were stretching their wings.

And the seagulls were catching the rays of the setting sun on the undersides of their wings as they looped over the ponds. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Autumn collection

I'm having trouble walking about at the moment. Everything is calling out to be picked up. 
What amazing colours this year so far. Reds, oranges, yellows and browns. 

And sometimes, like this red oak, you find them all on the same tree:

Other trees are more subtle like this weeping willow, gold and silver together. 

And some trees just like to stand out from the crowd.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Pressed leaves

There is something wonderful about the papery quality of pressed leaves. Some become almost transparent. They retain their colour as long as they're not left in direct sunlight. A great reminder of how colourful the world is when you're in the depths of January and feel like the world will stay brown and grey forever. They smell great, a bit like a barn full of newly cut hay.

The best time to pick and press leaves is in early spring before they've had holes eaten 
in them by caterpillars. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Forest fungi

After heavy rain is a great time to look for mushrooms and fungi. The variety is astonishing. But it's really hard to identify all but the obvious ones. Here is a jelly fungus a Yellow Staghorn, this is fairly easy to identify and is relatively common.

But here is a selection of other varieties that I'm still working my way through the excellent Roger Phillips Mushroom guide trying to identify. Might take a while.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Autumn winds

We went to the RSPB nature reserve at Rye Meads today. It was autumnal and blustery. We hoped to see one or two exciting creatures to add to our nature library but everything was hiding - apart from quite large groups of school children who were wearing shouty, green, fluorescent health and safety vests... I'm certain they saw even less than we did.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Food for winter

The ground crunches underfoot right now with all the seeds and nuts which are falling from the trees. The deer in the park are making short work of all the conkers. The jays and squirrels are after the acorns. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Walking in the woods

Heavy rain last week helped a lot of mushrooms appear. Here is the dramatic Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) a real classic. Deadly poisonous so don't even think of picking it. Actually don't pick any mushrooms. I've found it is virtually impossible to correctly identify them, despite having spent a lot of money on guide books. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Grey Dagger Moth and Clouded Yellow butterfly

Just when you feel the air has changed and autumn is approaching it's great to still find colourful insects about. Yesterday in Home Park I found a Clouded Yellow butterfly, the first one I've ever seen in England. I had to do a lot of chasing in order to take a reasonable photo.

Today I spotted the dramatically bright (and hairy) Grey Dagger Moth caterpillar eating Acer leaves.