Saturday, 17 September 2011

Mid September - Forest Fruits

Out on the Forest this week, the fruits of late summer are ripening. Migrating birds are flying through, from north to south, towards their passage across the English Channel. Often, they will stop to feed in the woods, the heathland and over pastureland. The countryside is full of seed, fruit and insect life. Yesterday, I stood in the field watching swallows and housemartins, in a flock of a hundred or more, swoop over the old oaks in the hedgeline and skim across the wet grass, searching for food on the wing.

Out in the lane, blackberries, or brambles, are ripening late this year. Masses of red and black berries are high up on the hedgetops, out of human reach but in a perfect place for feeding birds and sucking insects. Red Admiral and Speckled Wood butterflies search out over-ripe , black fruit to sup the dark juice.

Lower down, the blackberries are small, hard and woody this year.

Late honeysuckle has scented the air on summer nights and shows a few bright flowers in the hedge.


...and small, red wilding apples from a tree on the heath.

A rabbit or a squirrel has found this fallen fruit.

Some of the old wilding trees are covered with tiny, sour green crab apples.

The moorland heather, or ling, is over now, but bell heather still blooms in sheltered places.....

....and on a few grassy ridges in amongst the wilting bracken.

At the edge of the woods, silver birches are in dark, late summer green leaf.

Among the birches is the reddest, loveliest wilding apple, swaying its laden branches in the wind and dropping shining fruit for birds and animals on the woodland path below.