Autumn can be portrayed as a season of decline and decay but I've never felt that way - rather seeing it as a blaze of glorious hues, of change in the natural world, as a preparation for the winter to come and as possibly my favourite of the seasons.
Over the last week the autumnal shades have really developed in the north east of Scotland. An early October trip to the head of Glen Feardar above the valley of the River Dee near Invercauld was a colourful affair.
The ground below the pinewoods lower down in the glen was a blaze of dazzling red as the carpet of Blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) colours up. The effect is really quite dazzling and the leaves go through several shades of red as they change colour before falling.
Moving up the glen the habitat changes from pine woods to an open Birch wood with heather and Bracken (Pteridium aqulinum) covering the ground below, the bracken at generally lower altitudes than the heather. Almost overnight it seemed, the fronds had changed from faded green to a vibrant yellow - a brief phase before the leaves and stems dry out to a warm russet colour.
The effect when seen across areas of the Birch wood was very striking; the air itself seemed to take on a shade of yellow. In the next week or two the bracken will turn brown and the birches themselves will blaze with yellow as the palette of autumn moves on.
Above the main treeline the heather moors are already wearing autumnal browns. I listened for the first signs of the Red Deer rut, but nothing yet. Perhaps the warm weather is delaying things, or perhaps it's just a little early.
The colours of the wood and the hills above were a pure joy, and yet, even in this riot of autumnal extravagance.......
....some elements of the landscape just seem made to be seen in monochrome