Goodness Readers, you would think that autumn had started at the Wetlands judging by the berries. Everything seems to have come out at once. There are blackberries which are looking surprisingly juicy considering the drought, though this particular bush was right next to a stream so maybe it’s doing better than most.
And look at these lovely sloes. We made sloe gin once, which involved pricking holes in about 300 sloes and then submerging them in gin (Gordons of course, as that was my Dad’s employer for 30 years). It was definitely better than the bottled stuff, but not so much better that it was worth all that effort. Let me know if your experience of homemade beverages has been better!
This reminds me that my Uncle Roy used to make homemade wine. His parsnip wine was notorious – it didn’t taste too bad, though it was a bit on the cloudy side, and the headaches after a few glasses were legendary. Making your own wine and beer seems to have rather fallen out of favour lately, it will be interesting to see if it comes back as the financial constraints of the winter start to bite.
At home my hawthorn tree is absolutely covered in berries already, and the tree here is the same. These are dry, sour little things, and yet the birds seem to love them. And are they not a little early too?
Some of the paths at the Wetlands are closed at the moment – up to 3,000 tufted ducks moult at this time of year, and so can’t fly. Closing the paths means that they aren’t disturbed, and can get on with growing their new feathers without having to waste energy avoiding people. There are still a few surprises though, like this female Tufted duck with two tiny ducklings (one of them out of sight in the photo).
And so this was a brief visit, but what strikes me is how dry and crisp the shrubs look, and how everything seems to be holding its breath, waiting for rain. The weather forecast shows none for the next few weeks, and I am wondering why there is still no hosepipe ban in London. What are we waiting for, I wonder?