Visiting Houghton this morning I noticed how full Elder bushes are with fruit, most are green and unripened, however, within the cluster of green fruits an odd ripened black fruit sits alone.
The fruits of Elder, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Dog Rose, Guelder Rose, and Bramble will in Autumn provide an important energy-rich diet for migrant Warblers, these birds will consume these fruits in order to build energy reserves for their long journey to their wintering grounds, sometimes, for some species, to as far south as South Africa.
|Blackcap. Photographed at Little Cressingham, Norfolk Sept. 2013. Just one species which will benefit from late Summer/Autumn fruits|
I saw several Warblers flitting quickly over the corridor formed by two long hedgerows, most of these were Blackcaps , probably locally raised young and their parents, along with Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs. Within the next couple of months I will walk along this corridor with birds passing in front of, and behind me as they flit between fruit laden bushes. Birds which are normally territorial during their breeding season will in Autumn share the same bush to feed, this may be several Blackcaps together, or even four or five different species, all coming together for one purpose, to refuel before continuing their passage. Even isolated trees and bushes will hold migrants in Autumn, check these and other valuable staging posts for migrant birds, this is all part of that miracle that is bird migration.