Re-reading an old copy of Birds magazine (RSPB) from 2008 I came across an article about 'Scrub' and the tendency to consider it unkempt, untidy and fit only for building homes on or prettying up to create parkland. What is 'scrub'?
"Scrub is rough and unplanned; scrub is unexpected... a tangle of bushes and thorns, nettle beds full of butterflies ...long grass growing through brambles and hawthorns... the first coltsfoot flowers before it is spring... the first willow warbler fresh in from Africa... the lesser whitethroat bursting into its rattling song from the blackthorn thicket... blackberries and elder bushes rich with fruit... hawthorn berries that attract flocks of fieldfares and redwings in winter..."
Scrub is a place of discovery and observation, full of the buzz of bees and the chirping of crickets, and overhead the calls of kite and buzzard. There are only a few patches of hawthorn scrub left on the Shanley land as it has mostly been torn out, leaving grasses and wild flowers to take over which they have done in abundance and rich diversity. The grassland is a perfect habitat for insects, beetles, butterflies and bees but less so for nesting birds, large mammals like foxes and reptiles.
Long live scrub!
|Golden Rod, probably a garden escape|
|St John's Wort|
Large Skipper on Teasel
Bee on Field Scabious
Woolly Thistle and bee
Ladybirds on seed heads
Rose gall - nest of a gall wasp on wild rose
The first blackberry is ripe and ready for eating
Wild apples ripening in the sun
View south from the top field towards Blows Down
Now go and see how many you can find.
Long Live Scrub!