Column: Autumn arrives at Pollok Park

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I took an early morning trip to Pollok Park on a dull but dry Autumn morning.

The squirrels were busy amongst the trees – either darting quickly up a trunk as I approached or bounding off to safety with their strange staccato movement: three or four bounds followed by a frozen pause, then off again.

Crows were wheeling around the tops of some distant trees, their harsh cawing somehow so resonant of bleak mid-winter days.

The trees are assuming their autumn colours at different rates, the horse chestnuts among the first to become almost yellow.

Every so often a gust of wind passed through the trees, sounding for all the world like the sea.

Shaken from their branches, leaves suddenly appeared all around and gently floated down to turn the paths orange.

In the field where the Highland cows were gathered, two magpies chattered to each other, handsome in their coat tails.

Magpies are so common – and there is no other bird remotely like them, you never mistake a magpie.

They are clever, inquisitive birds but can also be deadly. One day I was watching a sparrow on a telegraph wire through the dining room window.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a magpie appeared and carried the sparrow off to a nearby roof top.

Here it could be seen in silhouette, dismembering the poor sparrow.

Now I know why the appearance of a magpie in the garden leads smaller birds to lie low!