Autumn Things!


Over the last few weeks, autumn has arrived in a burst of colour on the Local Patch  so I thought I'd share some of what I have been seeing on walks at the end of October - there were a few gloriously sunny afternoons, which were also quite mild, so I simply HAD to get out and about!

The woodland canopy was still holding tight to the leaves, which had kept the 'floor' on the dry side.  I had been hoping for as colourful a selection of fungi as I saw last year, however, a lot of the old wood had gone and there has been very little about. Last year there were a lot of Purple Deceivers, assorted Russulas and even Orange peel fungi.  I did find a few, one tucked away in a tree bole and a fairly large crop about 8 foot up a tree trunk, there have also been a few bracket fungi starting to appear as well. 

Hidden away!

 Up a fallen tree, parts of which are still growing.  Something has been snacking on this and I also noticed the amount of insect life it was attracting. 

I think these are 'Turkey Tail' brackets, there is usually plenty about on old decaying tree trunks and fallen boughs.

Here and there inside the woods, the beech leaves have started to change colour, picking up the afternoon sunshine beautifully,


Outside the woods and along the field margins there was plenty more to see!  All along the outside edges of the woods and of the meadow, there are blackthorn and blackberry banks.  Here and there amongst them are also wild roses as well as hawthorn, guelder, elderflower and spindle berry bushes.  All of these have fruited in abundance this year and the blackbirds, certainly, have been tucking into the sloes.  I had hoped to get a few pictures of the elder - glossy black berries with scarlet stems, however, every single berry has been eaten!  


Spindle Berries, that colour combination of cerise and orange really shouldn't work but...!


Surprisingly, some of the brambles and even the dog roses are still in bloom;

Bramble blossom.

A late blooming rose.

the flowers and also the blackberries are providing much needed food for many insects which are still about, like this Comma which was feeding up very well on these blackberries.  It appears to be a very 'fresh' individual and will probably overwinter somewhere sheltered, before emerging again next year.

 A late Comma, this was taken 4 October, however, I also saw three equally smart individuals on my walk of 31 October. 

A definite sign that the season is changing, is the appearance of numerous spider's webs and the Common Garden Cross spiders (Araneus Diadematus), which are amongst the orb web weavers.  During the summer months, low in the grasses and suspended in the wheat field, I often see funnel weaver's webs (whole condominions of them sometimes!) but this is the time for the orb weavers to delight.  As well as the Garden Cross, I have also seen another type, Araneus Quadratus, which has a smaller cross and four spots on it's back.  On my recent walks, I was able to watch many of these weaving their webs between taller stems above the bramble banks or amongst the old hogweed stands.  

A rather busy spider (not scary with a long lens & 2 metres away!)

The webs are rather beautiful, especially when the light catches them or when festooned with dewdrops.

There are a considerable number of old thistles still standing tall in the meadow and very often now, the thistledown, matted by the weather, is providing a sheltered spot to many of the ladybirds.  I have been seeing quite a few snuggled up in the sunshine like this, although as the weather turns cooler, I suspect they will find somewhere considerably more sheltered!


The local birds have all been keeping themselves busy, feeding up on the abundance of berries and insects which are still about.  They are mostly staying deep within the branches, so I have been catching glimpses of them as they flit through - Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Long Tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Blackbirds, Nuthatch and Treecreepers.  I have started to see the Jays on their regular caching commute, as well as hearing them squabbling over acorns.  The Green Woodpeckers have also been out and about on patrol, as well as the crows making the most of a freshly ploughed and sown field.  

A rather smart Great Tit which had been pecking away at the bark for insects.  

One of the Green Woodpeckers on evening patrol.  

One of the crows, trying to figure out how to crack an acorn! 

 Now some folks get a little sad this time of year, with a lot of the flora and fauna dying off or hiding away for the winter, however I view autumn as the Grand Finale of the year, where the trees at least celebrate the seasons just past and all the life, through plants, insects and animals that there has been through spring and summer; so to part, here are a few of the colours which form part of that finale!




BBC Autumnwatch very kindly shared several of the slideshows that I submitted for their #MyPatch project on their Facebook page which can be viewed here  (go to 'all videos and look for four #MyPatch by Wendy cooper)  or slightly longer versions can be viewed here over on Youtube   


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