A Berryless Holly This Christmas

Berryless holly leaf with melting frost

Berryless holly leaf with melting frost

There was a specific image I’d had in mind to post for this month ever since my move to Norfolk in February, which was of a frosty holly packed full of beautiful red berries taken in the plantation where I often walk my dog which is a copse full of holly as well as oak and beech.

Well it seems both frosty days and, more worryingly, berries are in short supply. When I first started to notice the absence of any bright berries I put it down to the unusually mild Autumn we’ve had with lots of rain but little in the way of true wintry weather and assumed the harvest would just be a little late.

But it is now only 4 days away from Christmas and still only one or two bushes in the whole copse have berries, and even then it is very often just a sad, small, lone anaemic-looking berry.

This year Norfolk again had very high numbers of seasonal migrants and waxwings due, it is believed, to a berry/fruit harvest failure in Scandinavia. If my fears are realised and our berries have indeed failed too, then it may well be a tough Christmas for many of our over wintering birds and they will need all the help they can get.