Characteristic signs of spring in the traditional mixed orchard include the noisy courtship rituals of countless songbirds and the blaze of the color of the fruit trees in full bloom. Whether starling, tit, or nuthatch, the overriding imperative is to search loudly for a partner, find a nest and produce offspring. Meanwhile, the cherry trees open the proceedings in the mixed orchard color stakes – they’re the first to blossom, followed soon after by Mirabelle plums, pears, and apples.
In the meadows, there are minor dramas taking place: ladybirds are a nightmare personified for every aphid colony. A single ladybird can consume up to 50 aphids a day. Happily for the aphids, they have powerful allies: ants.
In summer, the cherries ripen, offering the first major harvest of the season for humans and animals alike. And it seems almost as if there’s a culinary competition going on between birds, insects, and mammals...