Oct 10th Cley
October has been a rather wet month this year. It has been raining so much that I haven't had too many days in which I could do a lot of wildlife watching. Due to this and the whole Covid-19 second wave thing, I have been feeling rather fed up and a bit depressed lately. To cheer me up somewhat, Mum took me and my brother, his wife and little Ava to Cley on a rare sunny day earlier in the month. The wind was slightly chilly while we were having a picnic before we head out onto the reserve, but at least it wasn't raining.
Oct 19th Catton Park
The weather continued to be a bit of a downer for the most part since that trip to Cley. The physically demanding aspect of work was taking a toll on my body, so I took a week off at the same time my parents took the same week to visit my younger brother in Cheltenham. However, I decided to stay in Norwich instead of travelling with them, partly because my bedroom window was scheduled to be repaired with a new hinge. Left to my own devices, I had to think up things to do. I decided to spend a couple of days during my break to continue my plant list.
Because the weather had been rubbish this month, I haven't really had much opportunity to go out and add anything new, not that there's much to add at this time of year. The flowering season is pretty much over now, so I decided to focus my attention to trees. Though I have already included the more commoner species such as oak, beech, lime, London plane and silver birch, I have saved plenty of other species for this moment right now. It is autumn and the city is awash with a variety of colours on the trees. Armed with a camera and my phone's app, I took a walk around the block and to my local park to see what I could possibly can find.
Many of the trees in my area were planted many years ago and half of them are non-native. If I thought the wild plants were hard for an amateur like me to identify, these trees were even worse as my app was suggesting all sorts of things. Many of these strange alien trees originated from either Asia or North America or even elsewhere. Along the streets as I walked towards the park included American red gum (though it could also be oriental sweet-gum), white poplar, scots pine and ginkgo to name a few. The park itself had a good mix of sweet and horse chestnuts (with their spiky conker capsules littering the ground), maple, holly, beech, yew, oak and spindle (with their bright pink and orange berries on full display).
|Spindle Berries, Yellow Stagshorn & American Red Gum Leaf (possibly?)|
As well as trees, there were plenty of fungi sprouting from the ground and out of tree trunks. Plants are hard enough, fungi are even harder. I'm not making a fungi list any time soon. There are just way too many of them and a lot of them look similar to one another. However, that doesn't stop me from admiring them. There were plenty of interesting fungi in the woods, but none were as spectacular as what I believe is a yellow stagshorn sprouting like a coral on a couple of stumps. The colouring was so vivid that it was hard to miss amongst the dark shade of the woodland floor. Buzzards, jays and squirrels were also seen today.
Oct 20th Norwich
Continuing my tree search, I took a stroll into the city armed with just the camera on my phone. The plant app on my phone was telling me what my findings were along the way including sweet cherry, Japanese crab apple, American ivy, pin oak, Norway fir, sallow, Babylon weeping willow, mountain elm and one by the Norwich Playhouse theatre that the app got confused as a fern. After lunch at the market, I visited Chapelfield Gardens. This park had plenty of foreign trees, many of which the app couldn't put a confident name too. I'm not sure if I should add any of them to my list anyway. However, I could add the autumn crocuses, that formed a wonderful display in the grass at one corner of the park, to my list with complete confidence. These crocuses were a little bigger than the ones I see growing in the spring and as their name suggests only grow in the autumn.
And that was the last real wildlife-based outing I've made this month. I was going to visit Strumpshaw today (Oct 30th), but annoyingly I have developed a cold and I don't want to risk making it worse out in the damp cold. I'm at least thankful that it isn't Covid, but it really sums up this month to me. I really have felt down in the dumps this month with reports of rare birds showing up along the coast (including a 'mega' of a sighting in the form of a rufous bush chat in which thousands of people gathered at Stiffkey like some mass pilgrimage with the social distancing rules seeming to be thrown out of the window) and I just couldn't travel to any of them and not to mention all the torrential rain and the threat of Covid-19 keeping me from wanting to go out in the first place. And now I'm sick with a cold. It has not been a great month for me has it?