The BBC weather website lied today. It stated the day would be cloudy with some sunshine.
It wasn't ! Luckily my rucksack has its own waterproof 'jacket' and is always packed with a plastic 'sleeve' for my camera.
The first thing that caught my eye this morning was this chrysalis suspended right by the door, just inside the Information Centre. I have no idea whether it's a butterfly (doubtful given the time of year) or a moth. There were several ants climbing over it, so I have a feeling its not a viable cocoon, but it was something that I did not expect to see on an October day.
The sun did make an appearance a couple of times. I managed to get this photo below, on one of those rare sunny occasions. This is the view from the car park to the stone bridge. The avenue of trees is looking quite spectacular now the leaves are on the turn.
Last week I blogged about the old fallen beech tree, that had been sawn up into logs. I mistakenly called it a picnic area, and Bob Barton kindly corrected me. It's actually going to be an outdoor classroom. Now it's completed, it looks great. I spent quite a while sitting on the 'bench'. I think this is fast becoming one of my favourite parts of the ancient Cranford Woods.
Sue and Jasper the bird-dog joined me later on. We found there were still some fruiting fungi around.
We heard and saw several Goldcrests in the woods, but trying to get a photo of one was near on impossible, so we had to settle for a brief glimpse of a Long-tailed Tit.
Up by the headlands we found evidence of the Oak Gall wasp.
While we were there we bumped into one of the regular dog walkers. He's been coming to the park for nearly forty years and although he doesn't carry a camera, he almost always is equipped with binoculars. He's seen Woodcock, and both Muntjac and Roe deer whilst on his early morning walks. But the most exciting news is that he has had a Tawny owl visiting his garden, which backs on to the woodland on the other side of the M4. When I visit the park, I always start at the entrance by the Crane pub, so know that area of the woods well, so in future I will have to scan the trees with extra care. He also mentioned there were now two Buzzards around. I've often seen one over the park, and within minutes of Mr Dog-Walker leaving, Sue and I then spotted both of the Buzzards overhead. Sadly today was not a great day for photography, and I've had to lighten what photos I managed to grab of the Buzzards.
|Not one, but two !|
|As always Crows seem to resent a Buzzards presence|
|Two Crows mobbed this Buzzard|
|One of the Crows made contact|
They soon drifted off towards Harlington, so Sue, Jasper and I made our way to the river. No signs of the Kingfishers today, but the three Little Grebes are still present on the same stretch of the river. At long last I managed to grab a photo of all three birds. It's a dreadful distance shot, but a record one for our patch tick.
We had been dodging the odd rain shower all this time. Only the Marmite Parakeets seemed happy to sit out in the drizzle.
Sue and Jasper left not long after, and I waited out the rain on one of the benches beneath the least leakiest tree. As soon as the rain stopped, the Grey squirrels came back out to do what they do best at this time of year......burying nuts.
As I was leaving, the sun came back out, and so did this rainbow.
I walked back through the park and the woods, and as I reached the entrance by the Crane pub, I looked back and grabbed a photo of the meadow and trees in the light drizzle.
Of course, my blog would not be complete without a photo of the bird-dog himself.
I'm calling this one 'Jasper and the autumn leaves'.