This is 'my' sycamore - the one I'm following; taken in the evening.
I was going to say "It's not really that colour" when I realised I don't really know what colour it is. If I were nocturnal, daytime colours would be an aberration. And in the rain it's something else.
Yet this isn't exactly right - for the sun was ahead on the right and not only was it lighting the tree in a morning-way, my camera and I were seeing it differently from each other..
Approached from another side, it was gently green and yellow and brown. From another a silhouette. From another it was almost wiped away in the white glare.
I can't get right close to its trunk because it's surrounded by brambles. Of the ones nearby (and there are many) these blackberries are the last to ripen. The sycamore's shade and a curve in the path combine to keep the sun away. They are sweet though.
(I know this because in a spirit of scientific enquiry I ate all the ripe ones I could reach.)
Quite a few leaves are falling onto the path before they are brown - maybe because the tree is exposed to strong, easterly winds which drive straight at it from the length of the English Channel.
Its seeds are blowing aside too. This one was a few feet beyond the over-hanging branches. One of the helicopter-blades has broken in the fall.
(The reason I am able to identify one particular seed again and again is that the seeds on one low-hanging branch have developed farther apart from each other than those on the main part of the tree and one hangs at an odd angle.)
Slightly beyond the tree's shadow other plants are turning into skeletons. These dried stems will stand like this all winter.
But chicory is still flowering and hoverflies are fighting over individual flowers; dive bombing each other even if there are vacant ones on the same plant.
Why? Perhaps some flowers are already drunk-empty of nectar and pollen? Or maybe hoverflies are jealous of each other and can't stand to see somone else on something good. Or maybe they don't like hoverflies who look different from themselves? (See below.) Anyone know?
Following a Tree?
WHY DO LEAVES CHANGE COLOUR IN AUTUMN?
Wonderful, easy to grasp first time and brilliantly short explanation from Peter Gibbs of the BBC.
HOVER FLY SITES
Royal Entomological Society
"Over 250 species have been recorded in the UK, and more than 85 species have been found in a single garden."
British Hoverflies - Useful for ID because there are masses of pictures!
Nature Guide UK - I've only just found this site and have added it to the Loose and Leafy list of helpful and interesting ID sites. Even bigger pictures! It has other insects too. Well worth a browse.
also on Nature Spot
Some Loose and Leafy blog posts where hoverflies make guest appearances.
The Next Box for Tree Following Links
will open at 7am (UK time) on 7th October 2015
and close at 7pm on the 14th.