The Indian summer is pervading the high woods with a shimmering golden glow. Many trees are now starting to change colour as the prickly chestnut husks swell with shiny brown fruit inside. Heather and dwarf gorse are still in bloom, though rapidly going over, and the June green of the male ferns has turned to soft yellow.
Today we walked the woods with a group from the Sussex Ornithological Society, here admiring a small group of crossbills.
Crossbills feed on pine seeds and, although the Woodland Trust's policy for this and other woodlands in the area is to move away from conifer plantations towards more natural broad-leaved trees, sufficient numbers of conifers will be left in the interests of those species that depend on them.
As well as birds, some late butterflies were enjoying the autumn sunshine. We saw several whites, a speckled wood, a red admiral, a peacock and a small copper. Best of all was a fine, fresh male (probably home-bred) clouded yellow (Colias croceus) in Holman Wood Field.