Autumn in the Fens

September 20, 2021

Mist rising next to river Great Ouse at dawn


Autumn is coming, you can feel it, Notwithstanding the longer nights, the dewy sodden mornings help to give it away as well. The distinct nip in the morning air is not cold enough yet to see your breath but cooler than it was.

Looking around the farmers are getting the ground ready for the winter crops. Harvest is done now or should be, but the summer has been wet and the crops took longer to come than they should have done. Now rather than the swaying barley and wheat we have turned soil.

I saw the first leaves drop today as well. Floating down gently on an uprising of air that was not strong enough to support anything. The martins and Swallows have gone, except for a few stragglers. I started seeing this a couple of weeks ago, now, all gone. The sky seems empty and the riverbanks quiet.


But we have that glorious time of year to look forward to. Bonfires, filling the air with acrid smoke that takes me back years in a single breath. To memories of a farm brat playing in the fields. To Bonfire night and the explosion of colour, Baked potatoes are done slowly in the oven, not blasted in the microwave. Carving Halloween masks taken from the same stock of potatoes as we had just eaten. Hung on scrappy bits of a string the night light flickering dimly, Charring the insides. No trick or treat.

The colours of autumn as it progresses, the leaves turn to their reddish-brown before succumbing to the gales which strip the branches bare. They lie in piles waiting to be kicked up while the trees stand dormant and stark until spring comes around.

Trail cam

I have a trail cam now which I will be setting up near my bird feeders. We get a lot of goldfinches in the garden the moment I go out so it will be nice to see some close-up images of these birds, along with, the bluetits who visit as well.

What I am waiting for is the return of the sparrows. These have been in serious decline and where I used to get 40 or 50 I now only see, possibly a max of 10. I miss the frantic squabbling and the raucous nature of these birds. Small, brown and insignificant but lively and gregarious. The Hedgehogs if not going into hibernation now will be soon and the soft snuffling will vanish for a few months.

The countryside is closing down, resting, preparing itself for winter. I love Autumn. The sights smells and sounds all make it a special time of year.

Photography in the Fens

It’s a fantastic time for photography of all sorts. The wind lashed coast, the howl of the wind over the fens as it catches telegraph lines, it Pushes at the reeds. The fogs and mists that lay heavy over the land that twist and swirl in the unsteady air. The dew that clings to reeds and cobwebs sparkles like diamonds in the early morning sun.

The very same mist that caused the droplets, scatters and disperses the sunlight softening the glow. It throws long indistinct shadows over the land. A giant softbox hanging in the sky.

East Anglia is a very special place with a beauty all its own. We don’t have the majestic sweeping mountains, brooks, or waterfalls. We have a softer more subtle landscape you have to work harder to tell the stories. But the rewards are superb.


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