UK autumn delayed

Autumn
in the UK could be delayed this year with berries ripening and leaves changing
colour later than usual, wildlife experts are predicting.

Brambles
and blackberries in the countryside appear to have been hit by the cold winter
and are fruiting later, the Woodland Trust said.

The
first ripe berries traditionally peak around 4 August, but few have been
recorded this year.

And
sightings of beech leaves turning are down from 116 in 2009 to just two.

The
predictions are based on information gathered by volunteers for the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar, which studies the timings of common seasonal
events alongside records dating back to the 1700s.

By
this time last year, the trust had more than 1,000 records of the first ripe
bramble fruits such as blackberries. But it has so far received just 81 sightings,
with most in the south and none further north than Leeds.

Rowan
berries are late fruiting this year, which also saw a late spring, with just 44
records of first fruit compared with 808 by this time in 2009.

“It
is apparent that autumn could be late this year, just how late we won’t know
until the end of the season,” said project manager Dr Kate Lewthwaite.

As
long as it is still warm and there is plenty of water there is no reason for
trees to start packing up for the winter”

“Flowering
was delayed in many species due to the coldest winter for 30 years and this has
a knock-on effect on fruiting. We’re some way behind with lots of unripe fruit
still on the bushes.”

Victorian
meteorologists considered Autumn to begin on 1 September but the season’s
golden hues are now not developing until the end of the month, according to the
trust.

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