New life on the Reserve

Most new life on the reserve happens in the spring; it’s the time you think of young animals and birds, and all the plants coming into flower. But some animals will give birth at the back end of the year. There can be various reasons for this- they might be exploiting the glut of food in autumn, or even arrive into the world preparing to shut down for the winter. This is the case with the adders. all those pregnant females aren’t pregnant any more – sometime during the last week, they gave birth and we were fortunate enough to see half a dozen tiny adders this week.

Baby adder, already well-marked with a black zig-zag

Baby adder, already well-marked with a black zig-zag

Baby female adder

Baby female adder

They are such perfect miniature replicas of their parents it’s hard to tell how tiny they are. To try and give you an idea, the female above is just below the middle of this picture, just above a thin, pale grey twig. She just looks like a dark dot. Can you find her?

baby adder, pretty much in the centre of the picture

baby adder, pretty much in the centre of the picture

She’d moved away later and we picked up the stick to get an idea of scale. Tiny!

the stick the adder was basking behind

The stick the adder was basking behind

Elsewhere, the fungi are just everywhere. There are a lot of brown mushrooms but some of them are gloriously coloured and you can almost photograph a rainbow of colours.

Fly agarics

Fly agarics

Orange birch bolete

Orange birch bolete

Yellow russula or yellow brittlegill

Yellow russula or yellow brittlegill

Grass green russula

Grass green russula

A purple russula- not sure exactly which one!

A purple russula- not sure exactly which one!

There seems to have been a surge of late butterfly activity, mostly in the form of red admirals. On the warmer, sunny days, there are suddenly all over the place.

Red admiral feeding on heather

Red admiral feeding on heather

But not all of the days have been warm and sunny! On those mild and wet mornings, you really need to watch your feet with the sheer number of tiny toadlets on the paths. These will have been this year’s tadpoles (toadpoles?) and are now basically tiny toads. You can get an idea of size when you look at the pine cone in this picture.

A really tiny toadlet!

A really tiny toadlet!

My old enemy, the bracken, is finally dying back. It’s often one of the earlier autumn signs, seeing the bracken start to turn. Look out for it going even yellower over the next few weeks.

The autumn colours are startign to become more common

The autumn colours are starting to become more common

 

 

 

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