Sunday, 11 November 2018

"And into the forest I go.......

"And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”
― John Muir

Sunshine has been missing most days so far in November, this morning gave me the chance to make most of the light.
One thing I have learned from riding my bike is to explore any path, you never know where it might take you and what you might find. I have come to Swinsty reservoir

 The road takes you between Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs. (LINK). On arriving the car park was full, there was a "Tough up North" running race on round the two lakes so I decided to take the path through the woods where I have never walked before. The rain over the past few days had plumped the mosses up and they were a very rich green.  I saw no one as I walked through the woods, the wood was very still just the odd chirp out of a Robin and in the distance I could hear a Woodpecker. Every so often as the wind blew the leaves from the trees and water droplets would spray the forest floor.

Moss was growing up everything.

I love discovering new things but often get a bit frustrated when I can't find out what they are called. The internet is a great place, but the down side is many a photo named wrong. Searching through many mosses I thought this might be

Common haircap(Polytrichum commune)

but on reading this and having another look I am not sure.

Common Haircap Moss - Polytrichum commune. Well grown, large, hummocks or turfs of this species are unmistakable. Similar Species. Found in a wide range of damp, acidic habitats, tolerating shade and moderate amounts of pollution and nutrient enrichment. All year round. Widespread and frequent in most of Britain

Some more mosses I found
(still getting to grips with the macro setting on the camera)

I came across this old barn in the wood.

Way out on the waters edge I managed to spot some birds moving, they were very hard to see. Turned out to be Meadow Pipits.

Had to really crop photo  to see the bird, there is a bird in the bottom photo, can you see it?

A pile of stones built by someone and a piece of drift  wood.

I sat and watched the birds on the water before heading in to the wood on the opposite side of the lake.
Black-headed Gull

This wood had Beech trees rather than Pine, giving more fungi chance to grow.

Now is it just me who gets excited about finding Dead man's fingers with what turned out to be a wingless green fly crawling over it?

(Xylaria polymorpha)

The fungus is aptly named as they do look like fingers coming out of the ground, at first I though the little insect was a "Springtail" but after posting it on Facebook I was told it was a

Sycamore aphid oviparae.
Oviparous animals are animals that lay eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive method of most fish, amphibians, reptiles, all birds, and the monotremes. In traditional usage, most insects, molluscs, and arachnids are also described as oviparous.

Here is a great link if you are interested .

Honey fungus (Armillaria mellea)

Jelly Ear Fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae)

Harlequin ladybird

The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis is non-native it became established in the UK in 2004.
We have had a lot of these this year.

Looking down Swinsty , along the road you can see over the wall at Fewston.
Cormorants were sunning on the waters edge.

I had had a lovely morning, not realising I had been out four hours. As I got back to the car the rain drops started and the sunshine disappeared.


  1. What a lovely walk & although I've probably not been to the reservoirs, I know where they are as we base ourselves in Yorkshire when visiting the UK as hubby comes from Leeds. Your fungi photos are fascinating, especially the deadman's fingers. We do have fungi here in Oz, but that's one I've never seen or heard of. Thanks for taking us along in photos and take care.

  2. The photos are super Amanda - you have got the hang of the macro setting far more than I have managed to so far.! Looks such a lovely place for a walk. Love the photo of the ruins in the wood and the quote by John Muir is just beautiful. The natural sculpture is interesting and you got some super pictures of the gulls.

    I find moss id as difficult as fungi and we won't mention lichens!!! :) So pleased you got out to enjoy the sunshine.

  3. Some beautiful images there Amanda. You are obviously enjoying your new camera. habitat. Fascinating.
    I love the old barn. Wonder who lived there.

    Beaches are wonderful places to find pieces of artwork.

  4. Hello, lovely walk and natures scenes. I always enjoy seeing the birds. The mushrooms are just beautiful. Great collection of photos. Happy Monday, enjoy your day! Have a great new week

  5. I haven't been there in ages, it is a big walk, I can well imagine you spending so long there! Lovely photos and a good spot with the Pipits, they are really well camouflaged! x

  6. How lovely your photos are. I like the photos of the fungi and the cormorants by the water also the rock pile and driftwood. The ruins in the woods are very atmospheric:)

  7. What a super collection of photos! I'd have been excited about the fingers aphid too! I've never seen that type of fungus before myself. Lovely to a bit of moss appreciation here too :)

  8. I'm so pleased you were able to get out and enjoy this walk … because I have enjoyed all of your photographs.
    How amazing to see the old barn in the wood.

    Thank you for a lovely post.

    All the best Jan

  9. Thank you so much every body for the lovely comments you have left. If you are ever over in North Yorkshire I would recommend paying a visit.

    Mind you I think you would have to move here to visit all the wonderful places in Yorkshire.

    Hope it has inspired you to get out in the sunshine with your camera , a little bit of moss hunting I think.
    Amanda xx

  10. Wow...what a beautiful area you walk and or live in. I really enjoyed that walk without having to really do it...haha...Actually you made me feel like grabbing my camera and going out into the woods to walk.

    1. High Pam Jackson, thank you so much for your lovely comments and I am so pleased it inspired you to get outside, hope you had a lovely time.

  11. Some really good artistic photographs Amanda.

  12. You are getting some great pictures with your new camera. The close focus macro setting is opening up whole new worlds I think.
    Moss identification looks a nightmmare. "Well grown, large, hummocks or turfs of this species are unmistakable." - Great! "The shape of the leaf tips need to be examined with a microscope or good hand lens to check they are pointed and without any indent at the tip" - that obviously should read unmistakeable to an expert bryologist! I think you are brave to even start tackling these.

    The picture of the aphid on the Dead Man's Fingers is super. With no idea of the scale it looked huge. Anoth world of opportunity there.

    Thanks for another interesting and informative post.

    1. Thanks John for the lovely comment, moss ID is one of the hardest things I am interested in (think I am interested in all aspects of our world!!) that I have come across. Sooooooo many that look the same and yes you do need a microscope to find out what they are.

  13. What a wonderful place, Amanda! Your autumn leaves photos make beautiful colleges. And what beautiful macros of the mosses... I wonder if you have had snow this week. Our car thermometer said -6 yesterday morning at 8.45 a.m. - but the weather is turning to rain now.

    1. Thank you so much Caroline Gill for the lovely comment, it seems so long ago now. I remember I had a lovely day, so looking forward to getting out with my camera in 2019.
      We have had some snow this week too.