Saturday, 23 January 2016

Autumn on the Water

Approximately one third of the surface area of Milton Country Park is water.  Not surprisingly, the bankside trees and vegetation make a large contribution to the spectacular autumnal display in the park.

Autumnal yellows and golds reflected in Todds Pit
Todds Pit - 11 November 2015

In the first instance, the water simply reflects the colours of the surrounding trees.  Although this image was taken in the second week of November, in this mildest of autumns, the reeds and a great deal of the surrounding tree foliage were still bright green.

Goat willow bushes shine yellow on an island in Dickerson's Pit
Dickerson's Pit - 16 November 2015

This theme of the slow rate of change of some of the foliage is continued in this photograph.  Here goat willow growing on an island in the middle of Dickerson's Pit shine bright yellow as they catch the late afternoon sun.  In the foreground, the reeds are still the same colour as they have been all summer long.

Brown reeds at the edge of Dickerson's Pit
Dickerson's Pit - 12 November 2015

In contrast, it is these reeds (? soft rush Juncus effusus) on the northern edge of Dickerson's Pit that have already turned brown, while most of the surrounding trees are still green.

Collecting Leaves


Yellow leaves collecting in inlet
Dickerson's Pit - 25 November 2015

Leaves that fall onto the water are blown about by the wind until they eventually accumulate in a quiet backwater.  The leaves in this picture probably have not moved very far at all: this inlet is so sheltered these leaves are where they fell.

The Reed Bed

Over the course of this blog, I have been recording the changes in one particular reed bed at the north end of Todd's Pit.  In April, the reeds were still completely brown, despite the general greening of the park at the time.  By May, the bed was a fifty-fifty mixture of green new growth and dead brown reeds from the previous autumn. The reeds finally came into flower in September, by which time all trace of the previous year's growth had finally disappeared.

Reed bed turning brown backed by trees with yellow foliage
Todd's Pit - 2 November 2015

By early November, the reeds were already beginning to turn brown.  The flower heads in particular had already lost the purple brown of earlier.

Reed bed with brown reeds
Todd's Pit - 4 December 2015

Just over a month later, the reeds were almost completely brown.  Compared to the same bed in April, the bed is denser and the reeds are a more golden brown, but little else is different. 

Next:  Wind




Saturday, 16 January 2016

Autumn Leaves

The changing colour of the leaves not only transforms the trees, but also the ground beneath with a carpet of red, yellow and gold.  This post documents that carpet in Milton Country Park.

Yellow leaves on a grassy mound
North of Deep Water - 8 October 2015

One of the earliest trees to start decorating the ground was this tree on the green north of Deep Water.  This early in October, few if any of the other trees in park had started to change colour.

Fallen Oak Leaves
Remembrance Meadow - 28 October 2015

These oak leaves were below the tree in Remembrance Meadow that I featured in my last post.

Red and Yellow fallen leaves
By Fen Road Exit - 28 October 2015

In that same post, I noted that there was very little red in the park in autumn.  Here, hidden away in the wood to the left of the path leading to the Fen Road exit, the ground was covered was brightly coloured leaves from a single plane tree.

Path in the woods carpeted in yellow leaves
South of Park - 2 November 2015

But the overwhelmingly predominant colour in the park was yellow.  Here the path through the woods is completely hidden beneath the leaves.

Close up of carpet of fallen leaves
South of Park - 28 November 2015

Elsewhere in the same woods, the ground is covered by leaves from almost every type found in the park.  This image includes field maple, willow, oak and hawthorn.

Multi coloured willow leaves around tree base
South East Corner of Park - 8 November 2015

Once on the ground, willow leaves develop a range of colours including a dull purple and various shades of red and brown.  

Next: Autumn on the Water

Saturday, 9 January 2016

High Autumn

Autumn colour in Milton Country Park was at its peak during late October and early November: the park was engulfed in a sea of yellow.

Oak tree with red leaves surrounded by yellow and green foliage
Remembrance Meadow - 28 October 2015

The few trees whose foliage did turn red, like this oak tree in Remembrance Meadow, were dramatically highlighted by the surrounding tidal wave of yellow.

Poplar trees behind visitor centre with yellow, red and green leaves
By Visitor Centre - 15 October 205

This row of poplar trees on the banks of Todd's Pit provide a flaming backdrop to the visitor centre.  These  trees were among the first in the park to change colour, and subsequently among the first to lose their leaves entirely.

Birch tree with yellow foliage towers above hedge
Remembrance Meadow - 28 October 2015

Also on the south side of the park, the yellow foliage of this birch tree catches the sun and makes a dramatic contrast with the darker sky beyond.

Trunk and branches of willow tree silhouetted against mass of yellow foliage
East Bank of Dickerson's Pit - 25 October 2015

Elsewhere in the park, the display was no less spectacular.  In the woods on the east bank of Dickerson's Pit, the willow, hawthorn and birch trees all turned yellow at the same time.  As shown in this image, the view through the woods was one of a wall of yellow leaves.

Seat bathed in yellow / green light
Hall's Pond - 25 November 2015

On the east bank of Hall's Pond, this seat was bathed in a yellow / green light from the sun filtering through the willow and sycamore leaves.

Path turned into a tunnel of autumn foliage
Path Besides Wetlands - 25 October 2015

A combination of sycamore and hawthorn turned this path running between Deep Water and Wetlands into a tunnel of green and gold. 

Bank carpetted by fallen leaves
By Sundial Mound - 2 November 2015

As autumn progressed, leaves dropping off the trees created a carpet of gold beneath.  

My next two posts will both be about this most colourful time of year: firstly looking at the beauty colours of the fallen leaves; then, how autumn changed the appearance of the water in the park.

Next: Autumn Leaves