long-tailed tits

Bird-sown Shrubs

Saturday 14th October 2000, West Yorkshire
oyster mushrooms? A LINE OF TOADSTOOLS has sprung up on the woodland floor. They grew up in just the same position last year and I suspect they mark the outline of an old log that is now mouldering away in the ground there.

goldfinch A Goldfinch perches on a telephone wire, Long-tailed Tits along with a small flock of other small birds, make their way along an overgrown hedge.

Birds on wires might be the explanation for a group of shrubs that have been puzzling me. My tree expert friend confirmed that the flowers last springshrubs now turning to scarlet autumn colour at the top of Millbank are Cornelian Cherries, Cornus mas, but he adds that they are not a naturalised species; most specimens have been planted, but it's not a common species in parks, gardens and on roadside verges. My sketch (left) shows the flowers as they appeared in spring. They are placed individually along the branches, as the cherries are now.

I take another look at the area where it is growing; it doesn't look as if it has ever been a garden. It appears to be a patch of wasteground that may have been cleared 25 or 30 years ago (I'm guessing) during activity at the local colliery which has long since closed.

Cornelian Cherry What makes bird droppings a likely origin for me is the positioning of the 4 or 5 cherries precisely below the track of twin power lines. The soft and squishy cherries fruits each contain one large stone.

guelder rose As if to confirm this possibility there's another unusual shrub with conspicuous red berries growing further along but, again, directly under the wire. This, I'm pretty sure, is Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus. It has umbels of white blossom in the spring and its leaves, which are similar in shape to the maple, turn red and orange in the page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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