A small flock of Waxwings (sidensvans) finally arrived at the end of November and have been foraging in the garden since (rowans / rogn failed this year). In these videos, they are eating apples, elderberry and guelder rose berries (epler, svarthyll and krossved). I’ve heard tawny owl (kattugle) calling in the garden regularly recently too and the last video is a recording of one calling.
I love the seasonality of fruit and berries and one group of berries that can be harvested in October and November are particularly valuable when you only eat fresh and, later in the winter / spring, dried fruit and berries. The blackberries (bjørnebær) are finished now and we will be eating fresh stored apples now until at least April. This week after the first heavy frost I was able to continue harvesting Worcesterberries (a selection of Ribes divaricatum) at the bottom of the picture, Aronia prunifolia (purple chokeberry) at left and autumn olives / Japansk sølvbusk (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Due to the really cold May this year, the apple trees (Aroma) tried and tried to flower but seemed to give up. I was surprised nevertheless that some fruit did result and in compensation for the low number of apples, the individual apples were bigger so that the total yield was much better than feared! There were no plums and only a few cherries.
I only eat fruit that I grow or pick in the woods myself. For 5 months from November I only eat fresh stored apples from the cellar and they lasted right to the end of April this year. I don’t miss oranges, bananas or any of that commercial long distance fruit that I haven’t eaten regularly for over 25 years or more. Now until fresh fruit is once again available in July, I move suddenly from 1 species a day to over 20 a day, now using rehydrated dried fruit (including apples!), a mix of sweet, sour and bitter / strong tasting fruits (the same idea as the mixed salad!)
Includes: Apples (epler), sour cherries (surkirsebær), gooseberries (stikkelsbær), redcurrants (rips), blackcurrant (solbær), saskatoons (junisøtbær), Aronia, Berberis, Viburnum trilobum and Vibrnum opulus, bilberries (blåbær), bog bilberry (blokkebær), cloudberry (molte), plums (plommer), raspberries (bringebær), black raspberries (svartbringebær), Cornus mas, haskaps, Ribes odoratum, wild strawberries and a couple of wild Ribes spp. grwoing in the garden.
Join the SLOW FRUIT movement!
A male blackcap (munk) in the garden feeding nervously on an apple that a fieldfare (gråtrost) has been guarding attacking any bird that gets near.
…and then demonstrating that SIZE MATTERS as Herr Blackcap (munk) meets Hr. Hawfinch (kjernebiter) with guest appearances by Hr. Siskin (grønnsisik) and Hr. Brambling (bjørkefink)…..and there’s a finale!
This year is a bumper year for rowans near the fjord, but poor a little inland due probably to frosts which didn’t affect us! Late frost at the time of fruit flowering iis very unusual where I am near the fjord (due to a combination of warmth from the fjord and the fact that there isn’t night at this time!). This has concentrated thrushes near the fjord where the food is!
- Blackbird on apples
2. Redwing and fieldfares on rowan
3. Fieldfare on rowan (this tree was more or less stripped of berries during the day)
I try to “grow” as much food for birds as possible in my garden. This includes leaving some fruit, planting various species of rowan (Sorbus), not tidying the garden until late winter, so that, for example, seed of nettles and burdock is available for finches. I also don’t feed the birds with bought in sunflower seeds until it gets properly cold, until then there’s plenty of natural food available. There’s nowadays a large acreage put down to non-organic production of bird seed in other countries which is certainly detrimental to birdlife in those countries and there is evidence that providing bird seed during the breeding season can have a negative effect on some species! So, is feeding birds a good thing or just for our entertainment? A bit of both I think!
- Hawfinch and waxwings towards the end…taken from the living room /office!
2. Waxwing on apple. It was a bad rowan berry year and there are unusually few waxwings around (perhaps good news for an invasion further south, e.g., in the UK?). This is one of the apples I left for the birds…the video was taken from the living room!