A walk in the Park

by Ian Bushell

I took my permitted exercise at the park over lunchtime. There were just eight cars when I arrived at noon and only fifteen when I left an hour later.  People were well spaced all around the park; everybody seems to be taking the new regulations seriously.

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Blackthorn

Despite being battered by the weekend’s storm, the blackthorn is just beginning to flower; you’ll find it at the top of the hill as you leave Simpson’s Field.


Today is the autumnal equinox

Equinox means equal night, and today, the 23rd of September, there will be equal amounts of darkness and daylight all over the World.

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Hawthorn berries

Hawthorn is an important winter food source for birds; they’re the favourite berry of blackbirds, redwings and fieldfares and are enjoyed by many other of the park’s species, including chaffinches, starlings and greenfinches.

Haws are edible though they are said to taste like overripe apples. Traditionally they were used to make jellies, wines and ketchup. They are such a prolific crop, so pretty and nearly always within reach; sometimes it seems a shame that we don’t make better use of them.

Let’s leave them to the birds: an autumnal bonanza.


Another autumnal bonanza:

An artichoke gall on an oak tree photographed by DKG last week. The artichoke gall wasp (Andricus foecundatrix) lays its eggs in the leaf buds of an oak tree; the egg and the growing larva produce chemicals that force the tree’s extraordinary outgrowth.

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