Fly agaric, slightly nibbled, Wombourne

Fly agaric, slightly nibbled, Wombourne

Fly agaric mushrooms, bright red caps with white warts, are usually easy to find growing near birch trees in late autumn. I’ve been on the look out in lots of places they usually pop up round here, and no sign this year.

Fly agaric, slightly nibbled, Wombourne

The only exeption was this lone toadstool growing in an area of short grass (with birch trees) by the Wombourne bypass.

The heavy rains have washed the bright red of the cap to a glossy tan colour and removed most of the white spots. Something has found the cap a tasty treat, removing chunks which give a view of the gills.

Quinces ripening, rotting

Quinces ripening

Quinces, an old-fashioned fruit nowadays most likely to be represented in shops by the Spanish accompniment to cheese, membrillo. These were growing on trees in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s cottage near Stratford on Avon, some ripening on the bough, some already rotting.

Views from Dover’s Hill

View from Dover's Hill

Dover’s Hill is one of the high points on the scarp slope of the Cotswolds. After a mile walk uphill from the small market town of Chipping Campden, the view opens out across the Severn and Avon valleys, otherwise known as the Vale of Evesham. The hundred and eighty degree panorama is bracketed by Cotswold outliers, Bredon Hill to the south and Meon Hill to the north. The long ridge of the Malverns marks the other edge of the Vale.

View from Dover's Hill

For anyone unwilling or unable to walk the perhaps a mile or a little more from Chipping Campden, there is even a National Trust car park, a hundred yards or so from the highest point on the hill.

Shoveller drake shovelling, West Park lake

Shoveller drake shovelling, West Park lake

A small group of shovellers seem to have settled in for the winter on West Park lake. This drake was a little nearer than the rest of the group, shovelling water from just below the surface through its bill to extract food.

The iridescent feathers of its head changed colour from green to blue and black as it caught the mid-day sunlight at different angles.