Wednesday 22nd November 2023 - 4B's - Birds, Berries, Blowing and Beach
We have seen far less pink foot geese flying overhead, than in previous years. There are fewer skeins and a reduction in numbers in the ‘V’ shaped formations. Is this down to avian flu or is it warmer further north, making it less vital for the birds to fly further south? We are still seeing blackbirds in our garden and with plenty of berries remaining on our Portugal laurel tree, along with the pyracantha and Himalayan honeysuckle berries, there is plenty in our garden for them to eat. I have never seen our Portugal laurel quite so loaded with berries, as it has been this year. There are far too many for the blackbirds and the local pigeon population to consume. When the wind blows, which is quite often, they fall down on the path and ground below. Last week, I literally swept up thousands together with leaves from the walnut tree.
On the TV weather forecast yesterday evening, it was mentioned about the large number of hawthorn berries in the hedgerows. I haven’t noticed an exceptionally high number but the hollies are definitely displaying more tight clusters of bright red berries. I currently have a book from the mobile library by John Wright and simply titled ‘Hedgerow’. The book covers what must be, just about every plant you could ever find along the hedgerows. In the pages, covering hawthorns, there are suggestions as to how they can be eaten; as a jelly when mixed with apples, wine, sauce and fruit leather. Consumed raw, the flesh is mildly fruity, and slightly starchy like an overripe apple. Although fairly distinctive, like any wild berry or fruit, it’s best to leave them unless you are 100% sure of what you are gathering – if in any doubt, best left for the wildlife.
Yet another good blow (wind) yesterday with rain and leaves travelling horizontally across our garden. Looking out of the window, first thing this morning, two garden chairs were prostrate on the lawn and a trail of leaves lay strewn across the garden. I resisted the urge to clear the leaves – another blow is forecast for tomorrow through into Friday. The question is, will the rain hold off, allowing the winds to dry the grass sufficiently for Peter to give the grass the final mow of the year?
Heading towards winter, neither of us like the shorter hours of daylight. Still, as I said to Peter this afternoon as we walked home down from Tolls Hill, ‘this time next month we will be past the shortest day!’ We can feel the temperature dropping, on our afternoon walks, while we listen to the birds chattering in the trees, settling in for their evening roost. Let’s hope we don’t have too harsh a winter and the birds live to chatter through into spring.
Today’s photo was taken as the sun was rising and lighting the beach.