we walked through the wood instead of along the field for a change today (trespassing).

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dry and crisp leaves underfoot are preferable to soggy stubble and the soupy mud produced by the machines working on the new track.

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the wood is separated from the field by a steep-sided ditch of running water with several trodden-down crossing places where the deer pass in and out. one is liable to immerse one’s boots trying to get across this.

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further in there are several ponds; the wood is full of bogs, ditches and wet places. this pond is bigger than it looks, most of the surface is covered with fallen leaves.

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there are many leaves still on the trees where they are sheltered in the wood, their bright colours catching the light against the dark branches.

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the hazels particularly are at their prettiest.

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the beech leaves are copper-coloured, and hazel bright greeny-gold.

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this beech and its clones is my favourite tree – the queen of the wood, standing in her self-made clearing.

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this oak at the bottom of Cake’s Lane is later turning colour than most.

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approaching Patch Plantation I heard strange cries and found a red kite flying above the little wood, being mobbed by gulls. there were about six gulls and every so often one would dash at the kite, and one or other of them would let out a scream.

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kites have not yet spread to Norfolk so this one must have been passing through. I have seen one once before, at Stiffkey sluice. they are big birds, their wingspan much wider than a buzzard’s. you can see the vee shaped tail clearly in this photo.

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after four or five attacks from the much smaller gulls the kite disappeared into the wood, and I heard no more. on the way home a big flock of rooks and jackdaws settled and rose and settled again , the jackdaws calling loudly, groups flying off  until the whole flock made a big black cloud flying around  and calling in Hammond’s stubble field on Sharrington Road.

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