Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Me it delights in mellow autumn tide,                                                                       To mark the pleasaunce that my eye surrounds,                                                 The forest trees like coloured posies pied,                                                            The uplands mealy grey and russet grounds;                                                Seeking for joy where joyaunce most abounds…….                                                                                from Autumn by John Clare

Autumn certainly has been joyous this year and even the blustery tail-end effects of hurricane Gonzalo have failed to provoke most of our habitual complaints about the weather. Temperature-wise, a  walk I took on Bryn Euryn just a couple of weeks ago felt more like early summer than approaching winter and although many of the signs of autumn were in place, there were a surprising number of wildflowers in bloom and butterflies, bees and various flies on the wing.

Quarry-field cliff crowned with autumn colours

Quarry-field cliff crowned with autumn colours

Teasel  seed-heads amongst thistles

A prickly selection – teasel seed-heads amongst thistles

The woodland tracks are covered with layers of dried fallen leaves that rustle when stepped upon and the soft musky scent of their decaying matter fills the air.

Sun-dappled woodland track covered with dry fallen leaves

Sun-dappled woodland track covered with dry fallen leaves

Wild clematis is prolific throughout the reserve and curtains of the fluffy dried seed-heads is draped over vegetation of varying heights and is living up to its common name of Old Man’s Beard.

Fluffy seed heads of wild clematis or 'old man's beard'

Fluffy seed heads of wild clematis or ‘old man’s beard’

The individual seed-heads are prettily composed and shine silver in the sunlight.

141002(6)TGNW-Bryn Euryn-Old man's beard close-up

Clusters of silvery filaments make up a seed-head of wild clematis

The bountiful crops of haws on the hawthorn trees are still untouched by birds and have turned a rich ruby red.

Rich pickings still to come for hungry birds

Rich pickings still to come for hungry birds

Hawthorn leaves also turning red

Hawthorn leaves also turning red

Although there are bountiful berry crops, the oak trees do not seem to have produced many acorns this season.

Oak tree with bracken in the foreground

Oak tree with bracken in the foreground

Oak leaves turning colour

Oak leaves turning colour

There are ‘crops’ of spangle galls though.

141002(17)TGNW-Bryn Euryn- Spangle galls on oak leaves

Spangle galls on oak leaves

Before climbing up the steep track through the woods on the way to the summit I sat for a few minutes on a rock to note down what I’d seen so far and was scrutinised for a few seconds by a buzzard that flew in over the treetops. This is a favoured spot of the locally resident buzzard, known to local visitors to the site as Lucifer and if you are here for any length of time you have to be quite unlucky not to get at least a glimpse of him here. He was accompanied by his mate today and didn’t linger, moving away in a leisurely circling kind of way towards Penrhyn Hill and the Little Orme.

Buzzards circling Penrhyn Hill

Buzzards circling Penrhyn Hill

I noted: ” I’m sitting on one of my favourite rocks. It’s around noon, the sun is high in a blue sky with just the faintest wash of wispy white cloud and is so hot I can feel it burning my legs through my jeans. The grassy areas have all been cut but a few wildflowers in bloom including rockrose, harebell & a bit of hogweed. There are butterflies, mostly speckled woods, but also a red admiral. Drone flies come to bask on the sun-warmed rocks and several wasps are seeking available food sources. Birds are still fairly quiet, I’ve heard the occasional song of a Robin and Blue and Great Tits calling to one another as they flit around foraging for food, but apart from the ever-present Crows everything else is keeping a low profile.”

Moving onwards and upwards along the track that leads out onto the ‘downland’ side of the hill I could hear drying leaves crackling in the heat of the sun. On the woodland edge there were several speckled woods flitting about, pausing often to settle on oak leaves. All appeared to be dark in colour and were not fully basking, but holding their wings partially closed.

Speckled Wood basking on an oak leaf

Speckled Wood basking on an oak leaf

I photographed another insect here too: it looked like a small bee but was behaving more like a hoverfly.

Cute insect looking like a small bee and behaving like a hoverfly

Cute insect looking like a small bee and behaving like a hoverfly

There is a beautiful silver birch tree on the woodland edge. Its leaves are beginning to turn colour and it has attractive fruiting catkins that look like a bit like a small slender fir cone from which, during the winter and aided by birds, tiny winged nutlets will be released.

141002(26)TGNW-Bryn Euryn- Silver birch fruits

Silver birch leaves and fruiting bodies

141002(27)TGNW-Bryn Euryn- Silver birch fruit

Close up of fruiting body

The grass has been cut on the hillside too and the ground is criss-crossed with a lattice of bramble stems. There are a few plants of the wild Goldenrod still in flower, while others have gone to seed.

Goldenrod-Solidago virgaurea

The dry flower head with seeds attached looks as pretty as the fresh flower.

Goldenrod gone to seed

Goldenrod gone to seed

There was a fair amount of scabious still in flower and was attracting a busy little Carder Bee.

Scabious still flowering

Scabious still flowering

There were a few eyebright plants still with their usual white flowers, and one that I came upon had pretty pink-purple edged petals with a yellow patch in the centre.

Eyebright with purple-pink edged petals

Eyebright with purple-pink edged petals

The views from the hillside were outstanding today as it was perfectly clear and bright which rarely happens in the summer months.

Looking down onto woodland across the hillside. Carneddau Mountains in the background

Looking down onto woodland across the hillside. Carneddau Mountains in the background

Little Orme & Penrhyn Bay village

Little Orme & Penrhyn Bay village

The sea was almost flat calm and in as many shades of blue as I have ever seen it.

The sea in many shades of blue

The sea in many shades of blue

Looking down the coast to Abergele & Rhyl

Looking down the coast to Colwyn Bay, Abergele & Rhyl