Photos of the month: August

Martha Boalch and Linda Gill, 11/09/2018

This month we received 734 records, 49 with a photo, from 208 recorders. This is more than last month when we had 699 records. We are seeing a continuation of fruit ripening with the addition of leaf tint records coming through.

Impacts of the weather

With the pattern of climate change expected to create a warmer climate we might expect the growing season to be extended. This year’s extreme weather delayed the start of spring with the cold and now the heatwave and drought threaten to curtail summer activity early as plants can’t cope.

“Things have seemed to happen early this year, and speed along and not actually live as long e.g. the rose bay willow herb, started to flower, continued up the stem, and was over in no time at all, it just appeared to go quicker. It was not only me who noticed, many others have said the same to me, it’s as if everything speeded up.” Linda Gill, a regular recorder.


Speckled wood, John Quinton Adams, comment with record: ''Second Hatch''. Young flies with good wings. Plentiful. Sadly this one came indoors to read ''The Times''. Released at once.

John Quinton Adams sent us this picture of a very worldly speckled wood keeping up with the news. Of course, we only record the first hatch earlier on in the year, but we couldn’t resist this photo.


You can’t miss these big bunches of tiny berries. The beautiful dark purple elder berries are an important food source for birds and small mammals.


Elderberries, Jane Swann


Sunny elderberries, Mary Kerby


Elder, Fiona Cooley


Elder, Theresa Tromans

Hawthorn berries

The beautiful may flower blossoms from earlier in the year are now turning to fruit. There seemed to be a lot of insect activity in the hot weather, good for flower pollination and fruit production.


The squish test for ripeness, Peter Gordon Smith


Ripe haws, Karen Phethean


Hawthorn with berries, Mary Kerby


It’s been fabulous to see your passion for first ripe blackberry recording. You can check out the progress of ripe blackberries spreading up through the UK on our map.


Ripening in action, Sally Davey

squish test

Excellent use of the squish test, Peter Gordon Smith

coastal blackberries

Coastal blackberries in Wales, Sarah Urmson


Blackberries, Liz Bracken

“The blackberries were also ripe early this year and their numbers are amazing, everywhere loaded with blackberries. They have done well but they are brambles, long rooted and roots sheltered as they grow in tangles where the sun cannot reach the roots.  Yet even though abundant they are still smaller than usual and many not as sweet as usual, so obviously rain is important to the flavour as well as the sun.” Linda Gill.

Rowan berries

Linda Gill muses on the impacts of the summer weather:

“This year is different, the grass has been burned brown, trees have dropped leaves in summer – their thirst never quenched. Rowan has bright ripe berries in July, but will they still be on the trees to feed the birds in winter? What will the hungry redwings eat if they have all gone? At the weekend I saw rowan trees with many of their berries fallen to the ground, was it the strong wind of recent days, or lack of water?”


Mark Conolly gave this rowan a 4 for fruit score


Karen Harrison sent us this unusual photo of rowan having a second round of flowering


Ripe sloes, John Sharp

Ripe acorns

We have started receiving first ripe acorn records, a little later than last year. Our definition of a ripe acorn is when they start to fall to the ground. So even if they have coloured well on the tree, please be sure to check the ground for fallen acorns. This is when we would like you to tell us the date for first ripe.

Of course, with the hot dry weather some acorns may be aborted by the tree and fall early. Do still tell us about these as this gives us clues about the impacts of the weather. As always, your comments that accompany the records are incredibly valuable.


Ripe acorn on the tree, Graham Pickavance


Acorns, Peter Gordon Smith, comment with record: These two acorns may not be ripe (as per your photo) but they are on the ground = hence this record.’

Autumn leaf tint

“Autumn already appears to be happening, many leaves have fallen in summer this year; they were thirsty. The trees are already taking on their autumn colours, which are usually at their best around half term time at the end of October, it will be interesting to see if this happens this year or if everything will continue to be early.” Linda Gill.


First tint of hazel leaves, Mary Elizabeth Rogers

First tint of hazel leaves, Marika Szabo

Add interest to your autumn

“It makes autumn more interesting when I have things to record, and when I go walking with my regular groups they have now become interested too, and ask, “What are you looking for today Linda?” and they have all become quite involved.” Linda Gill

Tell us when you see the first ivy flowers in your area, the first ripe acorn falling or the full leaf tint of elder, gorse chestnut and silver birch. We use your data to study the impacts of climate change.

Ivy first flower, Peter Jeffery

silver birch

Silver birch full autumn tint, Peter Gordon Smith, (I know this is well outside the expected date range - but in the topsy-turvey weather this summer anything seems possible. Peter Gordon Smith)

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Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

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