Posted by: Ross Gardner | November 8, 2020

A wood of sounds

The dusk wood is a wood of sounds. Of a stillness infiltrated by the small noises and a silence that stays intact despite the extraneous sounds from without. Somewhere to listen for the lesser sounds absorbed by the daytime.

A thin, quiet, but somehow penetrating whistle as two Redwing pass by overhead on purposeful, rapidly beating wings – wings that have carried them many miles from the north in search of milder conditions and more plentiful food.

Pausing in the dip of small stream valley I can hear the leafy fidgeting of magpies settling to roost. A pipistrelle flickers past me, making good of this unusually mild November weather. This way and that, it flies within inches of me so that I can hear the soft flutter of its wings as it passes.

I walk on in the direction of the sound of shrieking foxes. I don’t see them, but I hear the rustling of smaller creatures in the undergrowth as I pass; a wood mouse perhaps, or a bank vole nosing among the leaf-litter. Or are they just the sounds of autumn leaves tickling through the branches above, the same that shower down when my passing rattles the woodpigeons from their tenuous slumber. It is that softer leafy sound that accompanies me throughout as the dusk easy into night.

Bank Vole (Myodes glareolus)

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