Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Still Colourful

Autumn is slipping by at a frightening pace, but as thoughts turn towards Christmas, it is nice to see that the colours of the season are still rather fine. Where they have fallen from the trees, they are carpeting the ground with a thick pile of golden brown.
Many are still clinging to the trees.
As always, the Maples are the stars of the show.
Around Shipley Woodside...
and through the woods around Coppice Lake, where the Beech trees take the lead.
It is not just the leaves which attract attention. The bright berries of the Cotoneasters are creating quite a show of their own.
Just a little 'bloom' to enhance what is already a colourful scene.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Osborne's Pond

After a very chilly start, the morning turned out to be bright, sunny and clear. One of those days when it would have been a shame to stay inside. So we set off across Shipley Park. as we crossed Shipley Hill and looked back across the fields, a slight frosty mist hung about the trees.
The few leaves still clinging to the Maples, are quite beautiful as this ornamental variety shows.

At Osborne's Pond, the still waters were rippled by a passing Swan...
and the reflections were brilliant.
At the far right of the picture, the reservoir dam is just visible, reminding us that this was once a 'feeder' reservoir for the canals of the area. All a far cry from the glorious scene this sunny morning.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Reflections

We thought we would take a look at Mapperley Reservoir this morning as there had been reports of a group of Mandarin Ducks. Needless to say, we didn't find the Mandarins, but we were treated to the sight of a pair of Kingfishers chasing each other across the water. Unfortunately, they didn't stay still long enough to get a photo, so we'll have to settle for some general views.
Despite being rather overcast, the weather stayed dry as we took in the scene.
It soon became clear that the reflections on the surface of the reservoir, were well worth looking at too.
There was no breeze to disturb the surface, so the reflections were quite sharp.
Some of the Willows had bracket fungus growing on them - while trying to hang on to their leaves before Autumn turns to Winter and they give up the battle.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Autumn Sunshine

As we set out today, it was one of those bright, sunlit, chilly mornings which makes you want to be out and about taking it all in. It was also one of those days when you just want to enjoy the 'bigger picture' and simply enjoy some wider views. Starting out along what we know as 'the donkey walk.' Here, the Birches are hanging on to their golden leaves.
Further on, we had some spectacular views across the farmland, towards Shipley Hill and the autumnal shades which glowed in the sunshine.
Through a small copse of trees which took us off Slack Lane, it was time to stop and look up...
through the thinning canopy of Oak and Ash leaves...
to the blue skies beyond.
From here, our onward path was laid out before us with shafts of light slanting through the hedgerow.
A little digital 'bloom' adds a certain something..
Time to head home and get the coffee on!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

All Change

Our walk this morning was conducted under blue skies and bright sunshine and was surprisingly warm by the time we headed home.
At Mapperley Reservoir, there were plenty of Coots arguing amongst themselves as usual and on the railings a group of Black-headed Gulls were preening and looking wonderful in the sunshine.
At this time of year, these gulls have all changed their plumage and have lost the black head markings (actually brown, but lets not split hairs) and are sporting a simple, dark spot behind the eye. They have however, retained their deep red bills and legs.
Well known to be noisy and irascible, these individuals seemed too busy sorting out their appearance to be bothered with fighting and squawking at each other.
On a nearby roof-top  this morning, I was delighted to see a Mistle Thrush enjoying the early sun.
Mistle Thrushes are the largest member of the Thrush family and get their name from the Mistletoe, the fruits of which are a great favourite.
They often sing their loud and fluty song in wet, windy weather, leading to their old common name of 'Stormcock.' A fine way to start the day.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Autumn Walks

After the recent wild weather, the colours of Autumn have taken a bit of a bashing. The Maples of Shipley Park were looking quite good before the wind stripped them of their colourful covering.
On Shipley Hill, the Oaks and Beeches have now lost many of their leaves, but at least the mild, wet weather has ensured that the grass is still green.
Among the trees on hill, much of the recent colour now carpets the ground, but with a bit of digital manipulation, things can still look good - and surprisingly green.
You can even turn the scene into an oil painting...
This morning, as we strode along 'the farm walk', I was delighted to see that the fungi were still doing well beneath the silver birches. I still haven't been able to positively identify some of the toadstools I photographed a couple of weeks ago. The big brown ones...
the smaller white ones...
More brown ones...
Some with a creamy appearance...
and a few gorgeous ones with a pink flush.
Looks like I still have some work to do.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Tiny Predator

First thing this morning, I managed to add another tick to my life lists. I noticed on top of our compost bin, there were the remains of a Garden Spider with the head and thorax missing and only the abdomen left. Some inches away, there were a couple of dismembered legs from the unfortunate spider and between the two parts, the culprit sat, looking menacing - but tiny! This was the abdomen of the Garden Spider...
The perpetrator of this grizzly scene was a another spider. Much smaller and rather attractive (if a spider can ever be described as attractive), with translucent legs and a pink abdomen. It turned out to be a specimen of Enoplognatha ovata.
Known for being particularly ferocious little predators, they often prey on creatures much larger than themselves, as indeed this one had - the Garden spider must have been ten times the size of the
Enoplognatha ovata.
Later, when Malcolm and I returned home from shopping, the spider was still there and by now had returned to its meal. It was now to be found feasting on the legs of its prey.
I think this is a female. Enoplognatha ovata is very variable in both colour and pattern and rather common in British gardens, but it was a great start to the day, being able to add a new tick - even a somewhat alarming one!