Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Fruit to Go

Mid August, time to look back and assess the growing season.. Soft and Hard fruit showed a big improvement on last years disastrous outturn.  Raspberries, Strawberries and Blackcurrants were all good, though only the last mentioned made it into the kitchen and safely preserved into clear glass jars, a treat to spread on cold mornings ahead.

Rowan blossom, late May (c.OOS)

Because I neglected to cover the ripening soft fruit from eager Blackbirds and others, we never really got to see or feel the ripe Strawberries and invariably a Blackbird was in attendance around the Raspberry bushes.. I will cover most of them with netting, next year, though the very hot spell meant that Blackbirds and Thrushes found it hard to access insect prey from parched ground, so fruit was a useful alternative for them, at least!

Our remaining cultivated fruit to harvest is a good crop of Apples from 2 trees that are only 15 months or so in the ground but in a warm sheltered position in the garden and free from damage from deer or others.

Juvenile Blackbird gets down to business (c. OOS)

Right now, the birds attention, especially Blackbirds, is with wild fruit.  The autumn procession has started with Rowan, progressing from creamy white blossom in late May to scarlet red berries, colour deepening by the day.  The crop is already being picked by a gingery coloured juvenile Blackbird: their favourite August food apparently; I doubt if there will be a berry left come September!  I am always amazed how long the berry crop lasts on Rowans grown in more urban situations: they are a favourite food of Waxwings in late winter, indeed a failure of the rowan drop in northern Europe triggers nomadic wanderings and irruptions for a number of northern European species.

Speaking of wanderings, we often notice a 'fall' of Willow Warblers on damp or misty mornings, the migration is on, and its always nice to follow the activity in the willows trees, the warblers show great agility in picking off insects  from under leaves, always on the move, calling each other along from tree to tree.

Willow in the Willows (C.OOS)

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