Tag Archives: Alder

The 2016 Friends of Hillhouse Wood winter bird walk – plenty of birds, albeit absent ones!

The morning of Saturday 27 February was cold, dank and a bit dismal – not at all inviting.  So naturally 15 people turned out for the 2016 Winter Birds guided walk in Hillhouse Wood, West Bergholt.  This was the largest number that I can recall for this walk.  It is one of the most variable of the ones I lead, both in terms of what we see and how many attend.  One year there was just two of us.  I was glad to see that Linda Firmin, Jo’s widow, had turned up, as if there is anything to see she will spot it.

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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

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

Autumn Fruits Foray around Hillhouse Wood, Colchester

In the odd moment I get when not counting the vast profits we’re making from the Naturetale app, or planning where to buy the next of my country retreats, I volunteer for the Friends of Hillhouse Wood.  On the basis that everyone else ‘took a step back’, I have found myself leading wildlife walks around the wood. Last Saturday I led a new one for us. Continue reading