Calm and Dewy Mornings .

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman

The loud honking of geese in the early morning or as darkness descends is a regular feature here  in the skies over Lancashire during October and November, as geese from Iceland, Greenland and as far away as Russia arrive to over winter in our relatively milder climate. They arrive in large skeins at Morecambe Bay, the Ribble estuary and large reserves such as Martin Mere Wetlands Reserve which is situated not far from the coast  near Southport.

Wood pigeons sit among lofty boughs, heads turning, scanning the surrounding fields, portly birds ever watchful, ever wary. They clatter out of the trees at my approach wheeling over the tree tops, then with strong wing beats, are off, making a great distance between us in a short space of time.

Grey lag goose in flight Bottom Wood pigeon

This Much valued photograph of grey lag geese coming into land is courtesy of Michael Maggs.
This Much valued photograph of grey lag geese coming into land is courtesy of Michael Maggs. | Source
wood pigeons are portly birds ever alert. Courtesy of djpmapleferryman.
wood pigeons are portly birds ever alert. Courtesy of djpmapleferryman. | Source

In the twilight

In the twilight as the light of day gives way to the encroaching darkness I happened upon a hedgehog trundling along poking his nose into all manner of places, rooting about in silent dedication. At this time of the year this spiny mammal will be seeking out a secure place of repose to pass the winter. However, while the present mild weather persists he will continue to go about his business putting on as much weight as he can before he settles down to hibernation.

Hedgehog

hedgehogs are getting ready for hibernation
hedgehogs are getting ready for hibernation | Source

Squirrels leap from bough to bough

Squirrels leap from bough to bough showing amazing agility in their quest for winter stocks of food. Locally the grey species is taking the fruit of horse chestnut commonly known as "conkers" These adaptable mammals open these with an incredible neatness they are the perfect "nutcrackers". The spiny cases are halved in such a manner that they appear to have been cut with a laser beam, in order to get at the fruit within. Evidence of their activity can be discovered all around the woodland on the floor on tree stumps and old fallen logs. The shiny brown contents are either eaten at once or stored away to see the animals through the coldest months. They are often buried. Sometimes conkers that have been buried are not rediscovered thus germinate to produce a new sapling. In this way the species is distributed.

Conker squirrels leave the empty cases

These empty "conker" shells are evidence of the squirrels foraging.
These empty "conker" shells are evidence of the squirrels foraging. | Source
The adaptable mammals are after the shiny fruit.
The adaptable mammals are after the shiny fruit. | Source

Spider activity is obvious

When the mornings are calm and dewy as they tend to be at this season of the year, innumerable spiders webs clad the hedgerows, it is at this time when one realises how many of these creatures abound in our gardens and the countryside in general. Harvestmen are spider like creatures with 8 legs, which are usually long this enables them to move around with great mobility among the stalks and vegetation which they tenant.

Although both spiders and harvestmen belong to the same class of animals -the Arachnida they are placed into two entirely different orders, spiders are placed in the order Araneae while the harvestmen belong to the order Opiliones. The common name of harvestmen derives from the fact that they are often encountered in the stiff stubble stalks when the harvester has completed its task. They differ from spiders in many aspects. They do not make webs and they do not have venomous fangs.

The body of spiders have two very distinct parts separated by a salient waist. Conversely the bodies of harvestmen are a single unit. Harvestmen are mainly nocturnal and essentially carnivorous. They feed on insects, woodlice, slugs and even other species of harvestmen. Unlike some spiders harvestmen are seldom encountered indoors.

Top. Spiders web on ivy. Bottom two Harvestmen

Spiders webs become more apparent when their is a dew.
Spiders webs become more apparent when their is a dew. | Source
Harvestmen have much longer legs and a body formed of one unit.
Harvestmen have much longer legs and a body formed of one unit. | Source
Spiders have two distinct  body parts divided by an obvious waist
Spiders have two distinct body parts divided by an obvious waist | Source

Hints of colour

The trees have been kissed by the Autumns first breath with the horse chestnut, maple and beech being the harbingers of the kaleidoscope of colours to come. The leaves are leaving their arboreal mothers spiralling to the earth carried by each gust of wind. The palmate leaves of the chestnut fade to a yellow brown before their inevitable fall. beech is renowned for its gold and copper hues making it one of the most beautiful trees when draped in its autumn gown.

Beech foliage on the turn

Beech is well known for its gold and copper hues during Autumn
Beech is well known for its gold and copper hues during Autumn | Source
Touched by Autumn's breath.
Touched by Autumn's breath. | Source
This young maple is changing its summer garb for that of Autumn.
This young maple is changing its summer garb for that of Autumn. | Source

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Comments 24 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Becky,thank you so much for your warm and appreciated comments. So glad you enjoyed it.Your visit is appreciated. Best wishes to you.


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

This is an excellent read. I felt as though I was there, experiencing these sights and sounds for myself. Reading this was like a 5 minute mental vacation. I found myself lingering, I could almost hear the wings of the geese overhead and the pictures were awesome. Thanks for a great hub, I look forward to reading more of your work.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Mieka, thank you so much for warm and appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.


Mieka profile image

Mieka 5 years ago

Beautiful writing and amazing pictures! A pleasure to read :)


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Hi, lctodd1947, you are very welcome. Glad to have you drop by. Thank you , again, for your warm and appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 5 years ago from USA

This one is just as good as the other one. Thank you for sharing this great piece of work and the pictures are wonderful.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

WordCustard, what kind comments thank you so much.


WordCustard profile image

WordCustard 5 years ago from Scotland

You capture the loveliness of Britain at this time of year, both with your photos and your words that themselves paint beautiful pictures. A joy to read.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

joy56, Hi B, thank you for your visit. I am sure a hub about your new venture will be an interesting read I await with anticipation best wishes to you.

Peggy W thank you for your warm and appreciated comments. YOUR feed back is really helpful. Best wishes to you.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

We get some color in the Fall of the year in Houston, Texas but NOTHING to compare with the myriad of colors in the Fall of the year in Wisconsin and other northern climes. This brought back many happy memories of those days. As to geese...we hear many of them honking as they fly in formation heading south for the winter months. Just west of where we live are rice fields where they typically come down for a rest. That will soon be starting as the weather begins to get colder up north. Such an enjoyable hub as most of yours are! Rated beautiful and up!


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 5 years ago

lovely you have captured the time of year wonderfully, and memories of my sons, getting up really early, collecting conkers, and selling them at school.. ha ha... the picture of the leaf in it's autumn shades, next to the green, turned my stomach literaly, it was a strange sensation.... the contrast and the beauty. ah, lovely..... not read it all yet but will be back, busy cutting autumn leaves on my cutting machine, for playschools...... maybe i will do a hub on the little business i am building up at the moment, it is time consuming, and interesting.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Jagged frost, warm and appreciated comment. Best wishes to you. I must thank you for your appreciated visit.


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

You need not thank me for your work is thanks enough for a man who appreciates that awareness which is around him is a man bathed in light.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

Eiddwen, your are welcome, it is a pleasure to share with a fellow nature lover. Your comments are really appreciated. Best wishes to you.

Kaie, you are welcome. Thank you for kind and welcome comments. Best wishes to you.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 5 years ago

Breathtaking! Loved the hedgehog............ we used to have one! Thanks for this! Kaie


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I love this hub D.A.L with all the beautiful photos as well. Even as a young child I loved the countryside and go walking for ages with my Beagle Lassie.

I still haven't changed and go walking every week with my daughters Staffie Rocky while she is in college

Our landlord isn't happy about pets so this suits all of us .

We have so much beauty all around us and thank you for sharing the beautiful nature in your life.

I am bookmarking this one and giving it an up and beautiful.

Take care and God Bless D.A.L


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

sofs thank you so much for your kind and appreciated comments. So glad you enjoyed them.


sofs profile image

sofs 5 years ago

The pictures are breath taking..the hedgehog, the beech tree leaves, the geese....I will carry them in mind for sometime, I always come and steal a visit with your peonies!! I just can't seem to forget them!! Beautiful!!


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

MartieCoetser, Thank you for your appreciation and for leaving your welcome comments. Best wishes to you.

thoughtforce, Thank you too, for leaving your appreciated comments. Hedgehogs are often more common than one assumes being very nocturnal and secretive. best wishes to you.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

What a beautiful hub, and the pictures is amazing! Autumn is a great season with all colors. Hedgehogs are unfortunately seldom seen where I live now, so I was glad to see one in your hub.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

D.A.L. - I’ve found this hub very interesting. I have forgotten many of the details, and detail regarding ‘creatures’, all kinds of animals and nature always tickles me. Thanks! Voted UP.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England Author

CheyenneAutumn, glad you enjoyed thank you for your kind comments. Best wishes to you.

SilverGenes, thank you too, for taking the time to visit and for leaving your appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.


SilverGenes 5 years ago

Lovely! Thank you for this interesting walk and stunning photographs!


CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 5 years ago

Beautiful - my mind lingered here fiilled with thoughts of the mental imsges of my favorite time of year... thank you..

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