Autumn Nature Walk
Autumn is a great time of year to head outside and see what things you can find, start exploring. alot of nature is changing, and there are such beautiful colours around. So find somewhere outdoors you can explore, it doesn't have to be a big nature reserve, although it can be if you want, a small park area or rough grassland are good places to go too. I would recommend you try and find somewhere with some trees as that will give you the most to spot at this time of year. Nature is all around you even in local built up areas so wherever you live country,town or city you should be able to find somewhere free in your local area that you can visit and see what you can spot.
The official start to autumn is seen by many as September 22nd/23rd, which is the autumnal equinox, but autumn is generally referring to the months of September,October and November. Depending on the weather and where you live in the country,(if you are in the UK) you may want to head out for your autumn walk a bit earlier or later than this. Maybe you could even do a couple of autumn walks one in earlier autumn and one later and see what different things you see each time.
The leaves of deciduous trees, which are trees that lose all of their leaves for part of the year start to change colour from green, to various shades of orange, red, yellow and brown, and they then fall off the trees. It is also when you will find alot of the fruit and seeds of the trees around. See if you can spot leaves in a whole selection of autumn colours. Also have a good look round in the trees and on the ground for conkers, which come from the horse chestnut tree, and see if you can find the spikey cases too. Look out for acorns from the oak tree, and the winged seeds from the sycamore tree, often referred to as ‘helicopters’.
Look out and about it the hedgerows, autumn is the perfect time for finding blackberries on the brambles. There are also lots of other berries and fruits of trees at this time of year but make sure you don’t pick or ingest any of them unless you are sure of their identification. Some of them are poisonous and some look very similar to each other. Take a photo of the fruit and the leaves and try to identify what you have found when you get home. You might find wild apples, which are often crab apples, also damsons, elderberries and sloes.
If you are out for a morning autumn walk, or its a misty day look out for spiders webs. This is the best time to see spiders webs looking great, beaded with the moisture of the morning dew or mist. No two spiders webs look exactly the same.
Early Autumn, from September onwards is the best time for spotting fungus, the growing environment is just right, being warm and damp, for toadstools and mushrooms to thrive. You will often find them growing on tree trunks, or in amongst the fallen leaves. However like the berries, some toadstools and mushrooms are poisonous so don’t pick them or ingest them. Ones to look out for on the trunks of trees, and on dead fallen branches and wood are the honey fungus, King Alfred’s Cake, also known as coal fungus or cramp balls, and Trametes Versicolour, also known as turkey tail. Honey fungus is yellow to brown caps in clusters, and the King Alfred’s cake are black or dark brown lumps, and the turkey tail is a fan shaped fungus, with rings of different colurs, normally shades of browns and cream.
Nuts are usually found around in autumn in the hedgerows and trees. Ones to look out for now are sweet chestnuts and hazelnuts. Sweet chestnuts look similar to the horse chestnut/conker but are smaller and come in a spikier case, when you open the case up there are three nuts, whereas the horse chestnut will only have one conker inside.
With all the nuts and seeds around at this time of year keep a look out for squirrels. They will be collecting and burying them to eat later on in the winter when food is in short supply. Also spot birds that are feasting on the berries and seeds that are around in Autumn time too, look out for thrushes, blackbirds, redwings, sparrows and different finches. Butterflies also enjoy feasting on the fruit around at this time of year too.