Saturday, 31 October 2009

Autumn Watch

Autumn seems to have come on sooner this year, and to have taken a deeper grip much more quickly, at least on certain species of trees. I don't recall seeing such heaps of leaves on the ground in October; the planes at Mottisfont this afternoon had dumped huge loads, although the oaks are still fairly green.

On the other hand, the trout there seem to be hanging around in greater numbers than usual and are still in their summer haunts, although some of the bigger specimens that dominate the choice spots by the bridge are looking distinctly worse for wear. I've no idea where they go in the winter months -- do the older generation die out? -- but they're usually much less obvious by now. When I first came to Southampton in the mid-80s salmon were still coming up the Test in November in numbers, and had to negotiate a salmon leap built into a mill-weir on the river at Romsey, which had been carefully sandbagged to protect them from damaging themselves on the brickwork. It was a very entertaining spectacle, and you half expected to see a bear hanging over the parapet of the bridge, to swing a speculative paw at the great fish. They've become a rare sight now (the fish, that is) and last time I looked the sandbags had rotted away and not been replaced.

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