Autumn is the season for fungi. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Some are edible but many are not – unless you are absolutely certain, don’t consider eating any of them. Common species found on the estate are the highly toxic Fly Agaric, the red and yellow Plums and Custard, Slippery Jack with its slimy cap, Brittle Gills with their straight white stems and ‘painted’ caps, Ink Caps which exude a black inky fluid, Milk Caps which produce a white fluid when damaged, and the brightly coloured Wax Caps.
The pine woods provide ideal habitat for Blaeberry, which prefers shade, and this is the time of year for its berries. Other berries to look for are Crowberry (also black) and the red Cloudberry, Cowberry and Bearberry.
There are still some late summer flowers to be seen before the cooler autumn weather takes a real hold, including Field Gentian, Yarrow, Thistle and the exotically named Devil’s-Bit Scabious.
Late autumn sees the Red Deer stags begin their rut, when they vie for territory and the right to mate with hinds. Although you may not see the stags fighting, the primeval roar of their challenges echo across the glens. You may see ponies in some of the glens; these are used by the surrounding estates to bring stags off the hills during the shooting season.
Migrant birds such as Redstart, Wheatear, Swift, and House Martin will be heading off to warmer climes. Swallows will be gathering together before their flight to Africa. Arriving in the UK to escape the harsh winter of Iceland and Greenland will be Pink-footed and Greylag Geese; look out for the skeins in the sky above, or grazing on grass and open land as they stop to rest on their way further south.