Pale Mushrooms and a Richness of Swallows

Pale mushrooms on a beech tree

My sister and I were on a mushroom-spotting walk in and around Sunnyhurst Wood when we found these pale ones just above head height on an old beech tree. The tree has been struck by lightning and part of its canopy is dead and bare.

We weren’t planning to pick mushrooms, neither of us being able to identify them, just to see how many different types we could spot before the autumn leaves covered them. We found quite a lot, though no unusual colours, such as purples, and none of the elusive white spotted red ones I’d love to see. Most of the fungi were growing at the base of trees, on the ground or on fallen branches, and the ones in the trees were more often bracket or turkey-tail types so these seemed unusual, the luminous backlight showing them off well against the living half of the tree. Continue reading “Pale Mushrooms and a Richness of Swallows”

Footprints in the Snow

Bird prints in the snow

We had a scattering of snow on Friday, so around lunchtime I wrapped up and went out to see if there was any fun to be had.

One of the pleasures of a fresh covering of snow is the chance to lay down a trail of footprints, and to follow other people’s. (Unless that’s just me being childish!) Finding this bird print pattern in a quiet part of town was a small treat. Two or perhaps three visitors had left their traces on the pavement before me. Continue reading “Footprints in the Snow”

Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind

Parrot looking over its shoulder

Though I remember going to see the film, I had no idea what the number referred to, so I looked it up. A mere sighting of an alien ship – a close one, mind – is the first kind. The third kind that gave name to the film means seeing an alien. If you speak directly with one, it’s the fifth kind.

It baffles me why we don’t have the same avid fascination to talk to the wild creatures we have on Earth, to find out what they can tell us. You can pooh-pooh this, but if we spent the money collectively invested in looking for the man on the moon to achieve a close encounter of the fifth kind with intelligent life on our own planet, dolphins, say, would we have had a breakthrough by now? Continue reading “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind”