BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild September -


Hav­ing been ex­ten­sively ap­pro­pri­ated for stock­proof­ing due to its spiky na­ture, hawthorn is surely our com­mon­est shrub. Also known as the May flower, due to the masses of white blos­som pro­duced each spring, the equally dis­tinc­tive brightred haws pro­vide food for mam­mals pre­par­ing for hi­ber­na­tion and newl­yarriv­ing win­ter thrushes.


Sim­i­larly thorny, this shrub’s flow­ers, by con­trast, ap­pear well be­fore its leaves un­furl. Early spring blos­som seem­ingly brings alive what might ini­tially ap­pear to be a dead-look­ing hedge. In au­tumn, bit­ter black sloes are formed – favoured by birds and gin afi­ciona­dos.


As a wildlife­friendly plant, bram­ble ex­cels on ev­ery level. The nec­tar and black­ber­ries pro­vide a source of food for birds, mam­mals and in­ver­te­brates right from spring to late au­tumn, while the arch­ing, thorny stems make the per­fect nest­ing place for birds, and the per­fect hi­ber­nac­u­lum for hi­ber­nat­ing hedge­hogs

Brown hairstreak

The fe­male of this fast­de­clin­ing but­ter­fly ( be­low) is eas­ily dis­tin­guished by an or­ange-gold band across its dark-brown forewings and small tails on the hind­wings. En­coun­tered in south­ern Eng­land and south-west Wales, the key to this species’ con­tin­ued sur­vival is wood­lands and hedgerows with abun­dant black­thorn, upon which the eggs are laid.

Bank Vole

Found in a va­ri­ety of wooded and scrub habi­tats, hedges pro­vide much-needed cover for a species that fig­ures high on the menu for a range of preda­tors. Bank voles are also adept above ground, mak­ing hedgerows the per­fect climb­ing frames dur­ing their au­tum­nal search for black­ber­ries.

Black­thorn dru­pes are for­aged by fans of sloe gin.

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