Autumny August – Muir of Dinnet NNR

Well, that’s the schools back, it must be autumn now. Though this year, we’re not heaving such a big sigh of relief as we normally do as there are still lots of people going around and, sadly, still quite a few misbehaving. This week’s entertainment (apart from the usual poo-covered tissues, food wrappers, abandoned tents and beer bottles) was a nasty tangle of fishing wire, still with hooks in it (all the better to embed in your hands or a dog’s paws) and a damaged, abandoned kayak. Unfortunately, fitting a 10-foot kayak in a 5-foot truck back wasn’t working all that well and we had to be extremely careful getting it back to base… fortunately on reserve tracks, not on the road.

Fishing wire

But I can see why even misbehaving visitors come here. It’s beautiful and a great place to visit for all those, nice, respectful folk who come and go and enjoy themselves and don’t trash the place. Even in the rain it’s beautiful: arguably more so as there are fewer people!

Rain

And the still , misty mornings make for be-jeweled vegetation. All the grasses, webs and other plants are heavy with water which sparkles as the sun comes up.

Misty morning

Diamonds in the sky- dew on a spider’s web

Water droplets on grass

Mind you, this can make for some really uncomfortably-humid days. After the thunder last week the temperature rose to 31 degrees. Add to that the 80% humidity and you just needed to look at a shovel to start sweating…

The damp weather is also bringing out the fungi. From egg-yolk yellow chanterelles to red russulas, they’re all up. These sulphur tufts are dead wood decomposers and often form spectacular clumps (or ‘tufts’) on rotting wood.

Chanterelle

A red Russula or brittlegill mushroom. These mushrooms can be hard to tell apart.

Sulphur tufts

Sulphur tuft fungi

Often thought of as a fungus (but actually quite different) is this slime mould. Going by one of the most unfortunate names in the natural world of the ‘dog sick fungus’, this slime mould is also feeding on dead wood.

Yellow slime mould. Or other names are ‘ dog sick fungus’ or ‘scrambled egg mould’.

Yellow slime mould

Also feeding furiously are the bees and other pollinating insects. They are making the best of the heather being in full bloom and other late summer flowers like the devil’s bit scabious. Some of these aren’t even fully out yet and will provide the insects with food for another month.

Heather

Devil’s bit scabious closed

Devil’s bit scabious fully open

We are also seeing fruit appearing, some ripe enough to eat. While I wouldn’t recommend biting into a cowberry (they’re viciously sour) blaeberries are pleasant enough to eat and make lovely jams. Try some if you come an visit us this weekend!

Cowberry

Blaeberry

 

 

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