October in the Cairngorms

A month of rain, wind, sunshine and plenty of wildlife, Autumn has been in full swing this month in the Cairngorms National Park. After quite a dry season, the storms rolled in over October bringing plenty of rain to the area along with vibrant colours and fungi galore. With the arrival of heavy rain, our waterfalls were looking spectacular and small streams turned into torrents of peaty water coming from our mountain tops.

Flooded stream and rain dropped leaf
Common Puffball, Orange Peel and Beefsteak Fungus

The rain did however help to produce plenty of interesting looking fungi to our countryside. As mentioned in the previous blog, fungi come in all shapes colours and types and can be found in many environments. Puffball, that release their spores in a puff of smoke, with the slightest pressure like a raindrop to their outer shell. Found on gravel paths, the Orange peel needs no introduction. Not to be mistaken for someone’s leftover lunch, the Orange Peel fungus lays flat to the ground and the petals curl to create the look of old orange skin. On the theme of food, the strange fungus found on Oak trees is the Beefsteak fungus. Its top appearance oozes brown in colour with its pale speckled pores on the underside, giving the appearance of raw meat when sliced into. What are the strangest fungi you’ve ever seen?

Trembling Aspen trees

Although it has been a wet month, the moments of sunshine have shown us the bright and vibrant colours that autumn gives us. Our deciduous trees all give us different shades of yellow, orange and red to admire. The most vibrant yellow is from the Aspen tree. Standing tall and often all uniform, the Aspen tree really comes alive during autumn to be the most noticeable tree around. Its scientific name is ‘tremula’ meaning to tremble, and when the wind blows their leaves, they quiver and make a soothing sound like rain. They are also an important tree to hold some of our rarest species like the aspen hoverfly and the dark bordered beauty moth.

Fieldfare and Whooper Swans

The summer migrants are now gone, and winter species have started arriving to mainly our coastline but also to lochs and woodland around the Cairngorms. Wildfowl and Whooper Swans are taking up residence to our shores and inland lochs, Pink-footed geese are plentiful and Redwing and Fieldfare are searching trees and fields for berries and insects.

Keep up to date through our website and social media channels for further information and pictures of what November has to offer.