Autumn in the West

I’ve always loved autumn and so, what better time to start this blog ?

I was over in lovely Leitrim last week, spending some (limited) time in the woods after a meeting in Carrick on Shannon. As is my wont, when I have a spare slot of maybe 60 minutes, I went to a wood I know near Lough Key Forest Park, to look for some deer.

The last time I had been really lucky, spotting four female Fallow Deer. That was back in summer. They were drinking at the little stream. They quickly noticed my presence and fled into the surrounding plantation*.

Anyways, this time there were no deer. But just as my allotted time was nearly up, didn’t a gorgeous red squirrel pop out from the undergrowth, no more than four metres from where I was crouched down. He looked at me, paused for a second and then scurried off across the track and disappeared. Thrilled with myself, I was getting up when I heard a ruffle in the trees above me. I looked up and spotted another red jump from one tree to another.

This is a great spot. I have a great visit each time I go. The plantations have a covering of mushrooms the likes of which I have never seen anywhere else – even other plantations of the same species – Sitka Spruce.

The ground under the coniferous plantation is simply covered in, among others, Sickeners, Butter Caps and Common Puffballs.  Under the deciduous tress, I found Chanterelles, Common Yellow Russulas and slimy Porcelein Fungus, but like all others and because it was mid afternoon, I left them there.

Plantation * : Andrew St. Ledger and Aidan Corcoran suggested that we not grace what Coillte and private conifer growers have done to our national landscape with the glorious words “woodland”, “wood” or “forest”.


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