An early start on a Sunday morning... at 6:00 am some friends and I decided to go on a 'River Bure Otter Spotting' trail with the Canoe Man. Unfortunately, the otters stayed well out of our way, but the river at this time of day was beautiful; an ethereal mist rose from the surface in the early morning sunlight and wraith-like herons merged with the mist until their movements betrayed them. An occasional kingfisher would dart in front of the boat, showing off its neon plumage, bright compared with the rising mist. Long tailed tits 'see see seed' to each other in the branches around us, giving a constant chorus to the still air.
Later the same day, to a completely different habitat, we took a trip to Foxley Woods. The ancient woodland that, in spring, is carpeted with fragrant swathes of bluebells, becomes a heaven for fungi in autumn. Fungi are my least competent kingdom when it comes to identification, but their shapes, textures and colours fascinate me, even if I won't ever master the tricks of identifying them.
Also below us, in the mud of the passed rains, were huge deer footprints - far too large to be roe, I think, they must be the work of a red deer. The stride length between prints was incredibly large. Above us, charms of gold finches flitted from tree to tree chattering their charming musical calls. Marsh tits, blue tits and great tits were also busy feeding from hidden insects in the tree canopy. A great spotted woodpecker betrayed itself by its loud genial call from the top of a pine tree.
In the sunnier spots of the wood were some late butterflies and dragonflies; common darter dragonflies and speckled wood butterflies alighting on living and dead leaves in bright shafts of sunlight.