Autumn Colours

This is a great time of year to be walking in woodland. Here are some lovely autumn colours from Anderton Country Park the other day.

  • Oak and birch are quite subdued compared to the vibrant beech.
  • Spindle and rowan give vibrant splashes of red.
  • White poplar gives contrast – as the white underside of its leaves becomes prominent.

Spindle Tree Autumn

In the scheme of things you’d hardly notice the odd spindle tree (a sort of Euonymus) in the woods and hedgerows most of the year. Then in the autumn comes this magnificent splash of colour – first the clusters of bright pink fruit, and then the magnificently contrasting orange of the emerging seeds, all ready to be eaten by birds and thence spread elsewhere.

It is a spindly sort of bush or tree, and of course it would have been very good for making spindles.

Photograph taken at Anderton Country Park, November 2016

The autumn rut

We’re walking by the lake in Cheshire’s Tatton Park on a grey late October afternoon. Red deer often congregate near the Knutsford entrance, but today are not to be seen there. Further into the park we hear the baying of a stag, then and answering roar from a slightly different direction, and so on.

Turning up towards the bank covered in the great avenue of beech trees we pass a few delicate roe deer, and then catch the pungent smell of the red deer, a deep pungency that you only get at this time of year.

Higher up, a couple of women are stopped, looking over to the right. Gaining height, we suddenly see what they are looking at – two large groups of red deer, each with a large stag at its heart, surrounded by females and younger deer.

The great stag with magnificent antlers lets out a mighty roar, soon answered by his counterpart with an equally mighty roar. The other deer appear to ignore them and carry on munching, or standing or sitting taking the air. Apart from the stags, only the watching people seem to be greatly impressed, slightly afraid even.

Power and dominance are clearly established, there are probably enough females to go around; it never comes to the locking of antlers.