After my previous blog on the benefits of Ivy, I started to look at other plants on my local patch and how they supported the mammals, birds and insects.
The first plant that caught my eye is the Hawthorn tree (Crataegus monogyna). The Hawthorn is a native tree that can grow up to 15m tall. On my local patch there is plenty of Hawthorn, either single trees or hedges.
Hawthorn can support and feed hundreds of insects. Its flowers provide pollen and nectar for insects and bees, and food for Dormice. Its berries feed various birds such as Redwings and Yellowhammers as well as small mammals.
The insects that feed on the Hawthorn then in turn feed larger insects or birds.
The Hawthorn tree is used by many birds for shelter, nesting and roosts.
I stood and studied one Hawthorn bush for around an hour. It was the same one that a Great Grey Shrike sat on last year.
During the time I watched, many small birds were hopping around within the branches picking off insects. Other birds who were feeding in the field would quickly fly back to the hawthorn for cover at the slightest sound.
On closer inspection each branch was coated in lichen and connected by thin strands of spiders webs. Tiny midges and hoverflies dotted in and around the leaves.
Underneath the Hawthorn lay patches of flatten earth where deers had rested and badgers latrines full of seed filled poo lay close to the trunk. Just off to the side a Giant Puffball looked like a discarded football.
Overhead a Red Kite battled with a Rook and H3, my local Buzzard, that I have been following since 2013, soared around on the thermals with two other Buzzards. A flock of geese past over, struggling to keep in formation.
On the walk back home I spotted some fascinating fungi growing on a tree