The weather has been a bit more mixed this week- weren’t Tuesday and Wednesday wet?- but on the fine days, the mornings have been so beautiful as to seem magical. The whole world seems still, silent and dreaming under a shroud of mist. Even the rustle of your jacket or scuff of a footstep seems like an intrusion into this silent world, and the whole reserve seems to be holding its breath, waiting for the sunrise.
The lochs are usually the last part of the reserve to lose the morning mist. The temperature difference between the water and the air creates the mist and it takes a while to burn off. Looking at the lochs, on a morning like this, it’s easy to believe all the legends about enchanted islands, floating in the air. Is that Avalon, where Arthur lies sleeping until the end of days? Or is it just Castle Island peeping out of the fog?
It’s hardly surprising the wildlife is waiting until it warms up to get going. Thursday into Friday was the coldest night of the autumn so far and by far the frostiest. The grasses and the bracken were all grey with frost, which is slow to clear in the shady and misty hollows.
We’d never normally recommend looking straight at the sun, but it was just appearing as a firey ball through the mist.
The frosty nights are making the leaves change quickly. I’d say this is the first week where there are probably more yellow than green leaves on the trees.
The wet easterly weather early in the week has brought in some winter visitors. Redwings and fieldfares have been heard over the reserve but they may struggle to find many rowan berries- the local thrushes have had most of these already.
There are still quite a few fungi around, making the best of it before the frosts kill off their fruiting body“ “mushrooms”. Fungi are notoriously difficult to tell apart and an example of this is the fly agaric- the classic storybook red-with-white-spots mushroom. But rain can wash off the white spots, so it can get confusing!
The only bird sounds in the woods now are the quiet communication calls of the mixed bird flocks that forage through the woodlands. All the bird calls have their own character – goldcrests squeak with excitement as they find a spider, while great and blue tits churr in a petulant fashion. Chaffinches often sound like they’re getting a bit over-excited (pink-pink- SPINK!), while long -tailed tits alternate between high-pitched zee-zee-zees and quiet farting noises.
And finally…a date for your diaries. Paul, who takes the wonderful pictures in the blog that we’ve been enjoying so much over the past few months, is running a photography walk next weekend – and it’s free of charge. BUT- please call 07917211909 to book rather than our office number as our phone isn’t working right now. We’ll maybe see you there!