Autumn really establishes itself in stormy October. It is a great month to watch birds on the move and gales can blow seabirds far inland, where they are sometimes seen at large man-made lakes such as Rutland Water.
However, if the weather is settled and warm, dragonflies and other wildlife more usually associated with the summer, continues to thrive and can be seen at the Trust’s wetland nature reserves, such as Cossington Meadows, Wanlip Meadows, Kelham Bridge and Rutland Water.
The Trust’s Charnwood Lodge National Nature Reserve and Ulverscroft Nature Reserve are excellent places in which to see mushrooms and toadstools aplenty. They are also wonderful places to see the autumn colours of the trees. The leaves of birch, beech, oak and others change through a variety of colours before finally falling. When the fallen leaves cover the understorey they give a wonderful musty scent evovative of this ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’.
See the Nature Reserves section of this website, or your Trust Nature Reserves Guide, for more information.
Species of the month: Fly Agaric
With its brilliant scarlet or orange cap covered with white warty spots the Fly Agaric is probably our most familiar and easily identified toadstool. Up to 20cm across and 30cm tall, the gills underneath the cap are white and the white stem has a floppy ring and bulbous base. The spots are the remains of the white veil of tissue that enclosed the young toadstool.
Look for the Fly Agaric from late summer until the first frosts of winter in mixed woodland and heaths among birch, pine and spruce.
It is poisonous to humans although some rodents do eat it.
Photograph: Fly Agaric (c. Peter Sykes)
Related categories: General