WIRRAL wildlife will have a helping hand from mother nature in the months ahead after a bumper crop of berries in our countryside.
The red and orange coloured spread across our gardens and hedges is a welcome sight for arctic visitors like redwings, fieldfares and even our resident blackbirds and thrushes.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust says it has received reports of a berry bounty, as hedgerow species like hawthorn, blackthorn and holly in particular burst with large numbers of berries.
Around this time last year, much colder weather saw the region invaded by waxwings, exotic-looking starling-sized birds from Scandinavia, whose flocks saw local birdwatchers rushing to capture photographs as they devoured trees heavy with rowan berries.
So far this year however, only small numbers of waxwings have been reported across eastern England suggesting that food stocks both here and further north in Europe are holding up to the thousands of ravenous feathered dinner guests. It’s thought the warm spring and rain at exactly the right time over the summer has led to the prolific crops of fruit and berries seen this autumn.
The mild weather has also seen some dragonflies and butterflies remain on the wing, while persistent dry weather has kept numbers of wild mushrooms down.
There’s even better news for festive romantics too, with the berry extravaganza extending to mistletoe, suggesting that prices may fall for Christmas – good news for those looking for love in these tough economic times.
Tom Marshall, from Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It seems after last year’s incredibly hard conditions that mother nature is giving wildlife a head-start this year, with a chance to fill up before the sub-zero temperatures kick-in.
“Our milder winters are also giving species like holly a boost, as creatures that would traditionally browse on them like rabbits and deer are able to graze longer on grass and meadows.”
Experts are asking gardeners not to prune or cut down any berry laden trees or bushes until the bounty has all been eaten. For more wildlife-friendly garden tips, see www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk