Road Kill Has Its Seasons

It’s beginning to feel autumnal now – there was a stiff north-westerly blowing today that had a distinctly cool edge to it. It made for a tougher-than-ideal ride; the colder air is somehow thicker. And, heading out from the Reading area, trying to ride out into a north-westerly means it’s more-or-less uphill from the start. Uphill into a strong wind: not great fun.

But, that said, it was an enjoyable enough 40-odd miles taking in places like Pangbourne, Upper Basildon, Goring and Wallingford. The views from on high, near Aldworth and Westridge Green, were excellent – of a seemingly huge distance. It made me wish I had a very, very high resolution camera and could make a massive print of the resulting photo to show up every detail. A little digital compact isn’t going to cut it.

This is a Horse Chestnut that isn’t dying, despite appearances.

This is a Horse Chestnut that isn’t dying, despite appearances.

I gather that Horse Chestnut trees aren’t native but there are plenty of them around these parts – both ‘gone wild’ and where they’ve been planted, often on the edge of estates. Seeing some of them today, you could be forgiven for thinking they’re turning with the season already but they’re not – it’s the result of ‘leaf miner’ infection. There’s a lot of it about this year, it seems to me. It looks disastrous but I’ve read** that it’s not as bad as it appears.

If seemingly withering Horse Chestnuts aren’t in fact grim, I guess the plethora of dead squirrels and pheasants is also good news if you’re a Red Kite or similar.

I’ve been seeing a lot of road kill lately; perhaps it’s just the time when this year’s young ones are starting to make their own way – or not – in the world. As Tom Waits said, road kill has its seasons, just like anything. ***

Today I disturbed two Kites up near Aldworth attempting to tuck into a pheasant, and another near Woodcote enjoying a bit of squirrel. They’re so ponderous as they fly up I always feel quite guilty for driving them off.

** Forestry Web Site
*** Tom Waits Lyrics