The blackberry or bramble is a member of the rose family and it makes a great habitat for many birds, insects and spiders – not forgetting that it produces delicious, juicy, black berries in August and September.
It is a plant that can be quick to colonise new areas of grassland because the seeds are carried in the gut of mammals and birds – that’s why the fruit is so delicious. One of the main distributors of the seeds is the badger and at this time of the year you can see their black latrines which shows they are feasting on blackberries.
Another reason for its success is the armoury of sharp prickles protecting it from grazing animals and also helping it to climb over itself and other plants.
In May the mass of flowers provide large amounts of pollen and nectar for a huge number of insects, including bumblebees and butterflies, like the Painted Lady.
May is also the month when the bramble is a great soundscape of birds nesting in it – Cettis’ and sedge warblers, lesser and common whitethroats and linnets.
The cuckoo is a regular visitor to feast on the hairy caterpillars of the brown-tail moth that are large when the birds first arrive back from Africa in April. The caterpillars overwinter in family groups in silk tents constructed in September.
It’s not just the birds that are noisy in the bramble, if you have young ears, or a bat detector you’ll hear all sorts of mechanical noises – in the second half of this video below, with the bat detector plugged in, you can hear the repetitive constant sound of short-winged conehead in the grassy edges of the bramble and the harsh clicks are the speckled bush-cricket hidden in the bushes.
Image Credits: Barry Yates .