Nature Notes

On the receiving end of good luck again: some drenching showers – including hail – in Reading, while I was riding in the completely dry area bounded by Reading, Nettlebed, Wallingford, Goring, Woodcote and then back in to Caversham … where the roads were wet but nothing was falling out of the sky.

It might have been dry but it was a hard ride today – the legs weren’t working in the autumnal chill. And it is autumn: if the trees still aren’t – in the most part – turning, another sure sign is the appearance of fungi, which seem to be cropping up a fair bit now.

And in other ‘nature notes’ for the day:

  • I’ve long noticed that a lot of common or hedgerow birds don’t fly away if a car goes by (if they’re out of harm’s way), but will be startled into flight if, say, a cyclist or walker nears. When Red Kites first started to become relatively common, they were timid in the face of anything – cars, cyclists, horses, whatever. Over the last several months though, I’m sure they’re starting to behave more like other birds, ignoring motor traffic and only taking to the wing if people not in vehicles are about.
  • On a quiet lane today there was a bit of dry, dead bracken in the road. From a distance I mistook it for a dead young pheasant – as common as dead squirrels this time of year. I guess that amounts to a simple but effective demonstration of the effectiveness of a pheasant’s camouflage (even if it offers them no protection against vehicles).
Fungi on dead wood - another sign of autumn

Damp rotting wood in autumn; perfect for fungi.

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