Category Archives: Bountiful berries

The berries of our three species of buckthorn typically ripen in this month

Buckthorn lives mainly on calcareous soils such as chalk and limestone.  It grows alongside Alder blackthorn in Alder carr. The berries taste bitter and are poisonous, dissuading people from using them in this way. Continue reading

Commonly found berries and fruit ripening in September

September is one of the peak months for ripe berries, but which are the berries that first ripen in this month? (In a normal year, whatever one of these is!).  There are some that only now ripening. Here are three rather different ones. Continue reading

A productive and enjoyable walk to see Autumn Fruits (and other nature stuff), Part 2

Following on from the spectacular hop harvest we found at the end of Part 1, just round the corner we joined a hedge that contained Spindle trees, with their spectacular coral pink and orange berries (not yet quite at their best), Continue reading

A productive and enjoyable walk to see Autumn Fruits (and other nature stuff), Part 1

Last Sunday (27 September) I led a guided walk around Hillhouse Wood, West Bergholt, to show people the berries, nuts and fruit that are in our local hedgerows and woods – and convey the stories they have to tell.  It shows that some good, at least, has come out of the development of the Naturetale app, because without this I wouldn’t know any of this stuff!

We were blessed with benign weather conditions, which doubtless was partly responsible for a turnout of over twenty people.  Continue reading

The 2014 berry and nut harvest on my local patch

Over the last couple of years I’ve been leading a walk around our local wood to show people the various fruits that our plants, shrubs and trees produce.  Coupled with participation in the now defunct BTO Winter Thrushes survey, this has brought home to me how this ‘harvest’ can vary from year to year.

So how’s 2014 looking?  Continue reading

Which berries are most popular with birds?

We all know that birds eat berries, and followers of this blog will know which birds are regular berry eaters.  But which species of berries attract the greatest variety of birds? Continue reading

‘Good’ berry eaters, ‘bad’ ones, and what berry plants do about it

From the viewpoint of a plant that produces berries the birds that eat its berries can be grouped into two – the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones.  The basis for this grouping lies in the reasons why plants commit all the effort into producing berries – to get their seeds dispersed to new growing sites.  This is supposed to work through a bird eating the berries, digesting the ‘pulp’ part, and then either regurgitating or defecating the seed(s) back out.  Birds that do this are called ‘Seed dispersers’ and are therefore ‘good’.  The various thrushes are in this group. Continue reading

Why do certain plants produce berries?

Berry bearing shrubs and trees are one of the delights of the countryside in autumn, providing colour and interest as the flowers fade away.  They attract birds and mammals by providing a source of food, helping them to survive the winter.  Which is great for the birds and mammals, but begs the question ‘What’s in it for the plants?’  After all, producing all those berries requires a great deal of energy on the part of the plant, so why do they go to all this trouble? Continue reading

Birds that eat berries

We all associate the various thrushes (Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush Fieldfare and Redwing) with eating berries. But are these the only ones? A few years ago Barbara and David Snow undertook some detailed fieldwork in the Oxfordshire area to find out. Continue reading