The honeysuckle is in flower.
Honeysuckle is a very important part of the park’s ecosystem. It is a source of nectar for dozens of our species of butterflies, bees and hover flies; nectar-feeding moths, including the elephant hawk moth, are attracted to the sweet scent at night, when it is at its strongest; several species of our bats come to prey on the moths.
Its new shoots attract aphids, which in turn attract tits and dunnocks, ladybirds, lacewings and wasps; fungi and moulds grow on the aphids’ sugary honeydew that falls on the honeysuckle leaves, and Heaven knows what feeds on the fungi.
The climbing stems and tangled growth provide secure nest sites for blackbirds, flycatchers, wrens and long tailed tits, and small mammals including the rare and endangered dormouse, and the fibrous bark from its twisted stems is used by birds and mice to build their nests.
Finally, everything eats honeysuckle’s sweet sticky berries: thrushes, warblers and bullfinches, wasps, mice and squirrels, foxes and badgers. A tasty autumnal treat for the months to come.
Header and footer pictures taken in the park by Suzanne Humphries