Stunning beech full of colour

PUBLISHED: 12:01 12 October 2007 | UPDATED: 23:06 28 May 2010

There are some beautiful colours around this autumn. There is one particular mature beech tree at my workplace that I purposefully walk right past whenever I get the chance because of its stunning assemblage of brightly coloured leaves. I haven t tried t

There are some beautiful colours around this autumn. There is one particular mature beech tree at my workplace that I purposefully walk right past whenever I get the chance because of its stunning assemblage of brightly coloured leaves.

I haven't tried to count just how many colours there are. That is hard enough on its own without going into trying to calculate how many different shades of each colour there are. And there are an awful lot.

So, my choice for autumn tree of the year is the beech. Another great thing about the beech is that it hangs onto its leaves well and many trees are still cloaked in foliage well into the New Year, particularly if there haven't been any gales.

Nothing else has come close to the beech for me this year, but why not take some time to see for yourself and come up with your own candidate for the tree top spot in your area?

It never fails to amaze me just how much more obvious jays become in October. After months of being very elusive and long periods without sight nor sound of one of these colourful crows, it is very difficult to go far outside without hearing their loud screech or seeing one flapping its way between the trees.

The reason for their sudden surge of activity is acorn collecting. They spend much of the daylight searching out, collecting and then burying this food source that they can raid when times are tough in winter.

Another feature of autumn 2007 has been the widespread arrival of redwings. Conditions for the end of September and start of this month were perfect for birds arriving from the north and north-east and these thrushes took full advantage to reach their wintering grounds in good time.

I haven't seen any fieldfares locally yet, but they always come in a second wave after the main arrival of redwings, so expect those at the end of the month or in November.

It is also the time to start considering that the blackbirds and song thrushes you see are not your 'regulars'.

Numbers of continental migrants have now arrived and they are impossible to tell apart. I say impossible, but continental blackbirds seem to be slightly more silver-winged than our own birds and the song thrushes are shyer and a darker brown above.

The differences are not at all easy though.

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