Hello bloggers. I hope you haven’t been climbing the walls since the ospreys have left the country for sunnier climes. Right now there will be ospreys congratulating themselves on surviving the migration and hopefully lots of juveniles now bustling for prime fishing spots around the river systems of Senegal.

We have started to see a shift away from the warmer weather we are used to and the transition into autumn has begun. There are many who find autumn difficult to appreciate. It signifies the end of summer, an inherently optimistic and engaging season. Summer fills us with the excitement of new life while observing the development of nature that has burst upon us from the spring. The autumn shifts into a lower gear, where tired salmon float down river with the dying leaves, and the squirrels are growing tufts in preparation for the colder months ahead. Autumn can sometimes feel like the end of a great party, the longing for a good time that is now over.  I can resonate with these feelings to some extent, but I also view autumn as one of my favourite seasons too.

As someone who is happiest in the cold, wearing a thick jumper, I find the autumn to be the perfect season for me. It is the optimal time to head out into the forest and see the change in the landscape through a sun that is lowering its position in the sky. The mist that sits low on the land unveils the spider webs clinging to the pines in the early morning. The light fragmenting as it passes through spider silk savours the last of the summer sun on these darkening days.

 Watching the turn of the trees is such a beautiful sight that it is the only time I find myself yearning for deciduous forest. In Japan the change in the season is called koyo; meaning autumn-coloured leaves, sufficiently vague, as to describe the true colour of autumn is impossible. Japanese maple is one of my favourite trees for this very reason, it turns the most amazing colour of fire red. I have been monitoring the autumn myself through a beautiful chestnut tree in Nethybridge on my morning commute; slowly seeing the change to winter.

Being in the pine woodland the autumn comes in much more subtle ways.Fungus' that were invisible to the eye as spores, are now making themselves known to the forest. The pine will drop needles on the forest floor, although not as obvious as a large oak casting it’s leaves, can be just as beautiful in the right moments. The autumnal winds are strong enough to dislodge older needles that when caught by the wind and sun, can give the impression of raining shards of sunlight from the heavens.

Blaeberry that has fed life into the forest over the summer now starts to wilt and loose its leaves. The very fact that blaeberry is deciduous is what makes it such a good plant for our woodland. It’s leaves are made for the summer, short and sweet, and feed the masses of insects in the forest. Once the season of grazing is over, it drops it’s leaves to prepare for winter. This is what allows them to save nutrients and rise like a phoenix from the ashes year after year. The lush green has been lost from the forest but the feeling for me is not of death or decay; only one of preparation and relaxation for what is to come.

It is through these small moments that I am able to savour the change in the seasons. I'm sure you all have your own rituals that get you through these darker months. Not all of us can chase the sun on migration. Like the crossbills, we stay put and see what the forest has in store for us over the coming months. 

Anonymous
  • Hi Fergus, nice to hear from you again. Yes lots of changes now that Autumn is here. Our beloved Osprey's will be settling down for a well deserved rest, and getting themselves in tip top condition ready for the long return home. That will be here before we know it!!