It’s a time in the year when all sorts of fruit and berries are ripening fast. The squirrels can’t wait and have started to devour the young green hazel nuts and ripening haws eager to find the few with a kernel worth eating. They make a mess on the path that can’t be missed easily but also listen out for the rustle as they move around at the end of the slender branches that bear the nuts. Hopefully some nuts will be left for the winter when migrant birds will take them and also mice and voles.

I am always surprised by the number of wild cherry trees around which are also being targeted at this time by thrushes and blackbirds. The miniature cherries are obviously tasty and many get dropped where foxes seem to love them. The undigested cherry stones are then obvious in the foxes droppings which are usually made in plain sight (they are a message board for other foxes). Look out for them at this time on the paths near wild cherry trees.

Showing well on the trail in the railway cutting is Enchanters nightshade whilst woody nightshade and wild clematis are also doing well. The clematis is right at the top of the pine trees at the cross- junction of the trails and will look good in the autumn when it’s woolly seed heads become known as Old Mans Beard!

A report of breeding kingfishers on the river and a welcome sight of a flock of lapwings overhead whilst a solitary moorhen chick paddled alone on the top lake. Much to see but the songbirds are now falling quiet although the reed warblers are still advertising their presence – if you are quiet near the reeds, you might hear the young nestlings calling for food.

Keith Falconer, July 24 2016

Keith Falconer is a local naturalist with many years experience of observing and photographing the wildlife of this region. He has an amazing knowledge of birds and bugs and all the creatures that live around us. Every few weeks he share his seasonal account of what to look for and listen to across our wonderful nature trail.