Tag Archives: Buckthorn

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

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

Richard and Steve step out somewhere nice near Peterborough (no snide comments, please)

Last Saturday we went to a National Nature Reserve called Castor Hanglands, to the west of Peterborough.  It’s an area of ancient woodland, pasture and scrub, surrounded by ecologically desolate arable land.  It’s a mystery as to how the Hanglands avoided the same fate, but thank goodness it did. Continue reading