Gaia throws the switch

I’m always surprised at how suddenly Autumn (Fall) arrives. This early morning, there was an indefinable coolness in the air – I don’t think the temperature was any lower but the quality of the warmth was different. The lawn and weeds were bedecked with guttation dew, and when I was hanging out the washing, I heard a robin (Erithacus rubecula) singing its thready and melancholy winter song for the first time – an inevitable signal of the end of summer. (Robins are unusual in that they hold a winter feeding territory and sing to defend it; their spring song is much more confident and bold, presumably corresponding to the more urgent imperative to attract a mate.)

The autumn harvest is also coming in – some giant puffballs in the cattle field and the lawn promise mushroom steaks for tea, and the haws are already glowing red in the hedgerows.

Giant puffball