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.

Pink hawthorn

In the middle of the park, the hawthorn blossom is pink; not uniformly pink but definitely pink in places. It seems to be confined to the hedges at the bottom end of Sleepers Field right through to the hedge at the top of the little triangular field that doesn’t have a name. It’s very pretty.

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