Sunday, 12 August 2012

Have you seen ripe blackberries yet?

While walking in the countryside, who can resist the lure of a ripe blackberry? Not me, that’s for sure.
I was out and about over the weekend and spotted several clusters of glistening ripe berries, but also plenty of green and pink unripe ones. So it seems that blackberry season is not yet in full swing around here, but it’s not far off.
Everyone knows that blackberries are delicious (the BBC Food website has an array of delicious-sounding blackberry recipes). They’re also good for you! But did you realise how important they are for wildlife?

Butterflies like commas (pictured above) love to sip on blackberry juice. Wasps and flies are also partial to it. And a bramble bush makes a fine perch for dragonflies like migrant or brown hawkers, which might try to snatch some of the smaller blackberry-slurping insects.
Blackberries also go down a storm with birds at this time of year.
Before migrating to southern Europe, north Africa or even through the Sahara, birds like blackcaps, whitethroats and garden warblers use sugary berries as an energy-rich food source. Their bodies convert the sugar to fat which will fuel them on their long journeys.
As evidence of this, watch out for purple poos near you!