Autumn is harvest time for humans and animals alike in the traditional mixed orchard. Apples and pears are a delicacy not only for humans – bees, hedgehogs and mice enjoy the tasty fare. Squirrels and nuthatches, on the other hand, prefer nuts and there are plenty of them to be found in the orchard. The animals even have time to gather stores of food for the winter.
In late autumn, the harvest season is over, and the traditional mixed orchard now displays its richness in another way. From the orange of the cherry-tree leaves to the red and yellow of the pear-tree foliage, the vivid colours symbolize the variety of this extraordinary biosphere.
With the first strong frosts, the leaves can no longer stay on the trees. But even in winter, the traditional mixed orchard offers enough to sustain many of its wild inhabitants. While the nuthatch is busy defending its stores from the raids of other birds, fieldfares find a supply of frozen food still clinging to some outer branches: pears or apples that were too inaccessible to be harvested. In the early spring, an ermine hunts for mice, now no longer safe even in their subterranean burrows as the weasel is so slender it can follow them almost anywhere.
In autumn and winter, the traditional mixed orchard shows its true nature: a habitat of incalculable value to its local flora and fauna. The film illustrates this in entertaining events, with impressive and vivid images.