Sunday, 19 October 2014
Unbeknowingly to me, last Sunday was #UKFungusDay. We went for a drive to Foxley Woods, part of my local patch which we haven't visited in far too long. Surprisingly, most of the leaves are still intact on their trees. We could hear a number of birds, but did not see very many. That is, until a Marsh tit flew down right in front of us to feast at the edge of the hedgerow.
The woods were full of beautiful colours, with fruits of the guelder rose bright red and shining in the sun after the early morning rain. Hawthorn berries adorned the trees along the edges of the woods and there were fungi everywhere. I am no expert in fungi, and despite uploading my photos to iSpot, I only have one out of four which have been identified. Nonetheless, they make exquisite shapes and colours in the landscape, on the forest floor or on dead wood, on living trees or anywhere they can lay down 'roots'.
Another thing I love about ancient woodland, or any woodland really, are the noises you can hear if you jut stop and listen. If you close your eyes, you can pick up all of the fluttering and bustling of wind blowing through the dry leaves of the trees, sounding like small footsteps all around. You can hear birds that you may otherwise miss, even if you can't identify them from call alone. One such bird was a trill nuthatch, so loud high up in the branches that I managed to track it down and have, as a result learnt a new birdsong. Another we heard, loud and clear above the noises of the woods, was a tawny owl, it's eerie hoot reminiscent of Halloween and horror films echoing through the woods in the early afternoon. Shortly after, a kestrel caught my attention flying and landing in a tall tree with few leaves.
We left promising we would return much sooner next time.