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Seasonal guide – autumn
Autumn is a riot of colour, as the leaves begin to turn fantastic shades of red and yellow, and bright berries shine out from the hedgerows. All about, creatures are preparing for winter, stocking up on the season’s free harvest, while in the woods, mysterious plants begin to emerge from the soil…
• Autumn is definitely a season for mushrooms and toadstools and the woods in the Trossachs are full of ‘em! Remember, they may look pretty, but some can be deadly, so don’t touch! Aberfoyle has its own mushroom festival for enthusiasts who want to know more.
• With the breeding season over, it’s time to say goodbye to the summer migrants, and hello to the winter ones! Ospreys depart, and merlin and hen harriers move down from the upland areas to escape the worst of the weather.
• Red deer begin their annual rut. Listen out for their harsh calls in the woods to the north of the Trail, particularly near Aberfoyle and on the Duke’s Pass.
• Red squirrels can be seen on camera at the David Marshall Lodge, or in the flesh if you brave the hide! Beautiful, delicate creatures, they devour the nuts put out for them by Forestry Commission staff.
• Berries are everywhere in autumn, with the hedgerows and forests awash with brambles. Many of the hillsides are also dotted with blaeberries, a wild version of the blueberry.
• Early autumn is a great time of year for a bat walk! Many of this year’s young will be taking the wing to stock up for their winter hibernation, and the darker evenings mean they’re coming out of their roosts earlier.
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