Nature Diary (& Poetry Corner): A Cornish Wood, 21st November

The change from the lukewarm cosiness of Autumn to the first days of ‘Christ it’s cold’ statements upon the fall of Winter are well


Mirkwood from ‘The Hobbit’, as depicted by Alan Lee.

documented, and this blog has been no exception.

Cornwall gets to linger in slightly milder climes than the rest of the country for longer, but those icy winds can only be bayed for so long. A quick trip to see the spoonbills and massive wigeon flock at Hayle estuary today (successful on both counts – with a goosander appearance for bonus points) was slightly overwhelmed by blasts of Atlantic gale Jack Frost seemed to have left his signature upon.

Driving down to my ‘secret’ wood near Gweek, the hedgerow-guarded country lanes bore dwarfed and gnarled oaks now stripped to skeletal form. Rather than dead leaves, it was a flock of several dozen fieldfares that scattered from their branches in the wind – one of the few songbirds that only comes here in cooler times to the live out the season of not-so-plenty.

Setting up my camera trap at a busy badger latrine, I was suddenly struck by how quickly the woods had changed character to it’s winter self. Bloody hell, it barely felt like a month had past since I was admiring the blooms of bluebells and wild garlic.

And so the wait begins.

Snag and crack! How Winters chill grasps the hazel roots,
And through the oak leaf, ivy and bramble, they tangle round my boots.
But while it may hide sweet scents and shades, to dance upon a distant Spring’s breath,
It is now under the grey sky, coppice brown and bloated stream,
The wood becomes a living death.

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