On a cool cloudy November afternoon I'm in Bushey park admiring the rich autumn colours and heading towards the large lake, fringed with ancient willows.

A few have had iron railings erected around them years ago but such is the relentless growing power of trees the railings have in places been engulfed within the bark.

The trunk of one massive willow lies prostrate on the marshy ground with branches spread-eagled  over many metres but still very much alive.

On the slightly ruffled surface of the lake black headed gulls, mallard, coots, moorhens and crested pochard loaf as a family of swans comprising two adults and five large cygnets sails serenely across the water.

In the reed fringed shallows stands a heron, his head darting this way and that searching for fish. Suddenly, he stabs downwards and catches a five inch long perch (pictured) which is quickly swallowed and his long neck bulges as the fish slips down his gullet. Perch always swim in shoals so within ten minutes he catches three more.

Hard by the lake stands a hawthorn festooned with bunches of mistletoe. At the crown of the tree is a mistlethrush gorging on the berries. His name is derived from the fact that he is the bird most likely to spread the semi-parasitic plant for after feasting he wipes his beak on branches to clean off the sticky seeds which later take root.

Nearby a noble red stag sits within a sea of bracken, resting after a busy rutting season. His head is hidden beneath the bracken with only his many-tined antlers showing, resembling a solitary leafless tree!

A steady drizzle sets in so we head to the pheasantry café for a warming cappuccino.