Russ Hedley explores what fantastic wildlife can be found in and around the Bolton area.

IT has been a fantastic summer, but right at the end of last month, the first signs of autumn were already showing themselves.

The stunning Rowan tree has burst into seed, with dozens of bright red berries covering its branches.

The dazzling colours make it one of the most recognisable and beautiful trees in the autumn forest.

Rowan is also called the Mountain Ash, although it is not actually an Ash at all.

It has very similar leaves to the ash, with one leaf comprising of about 15 individual leaflets with jagged edges.

In spring, the tree has large clusters of white flowers, which have now become the berries.

Because of these bright red berries, the tree is a favourite of many bird species for food, including the migrating waxwing, above.

This has resulted in an alternative name for the Rowan — the Bird Catcher Tree.

In medieval times, it was also believed that the Rowan, along with other red-berried trees, had the ability to protect a household against evil spirits.

Many Rowans were planted at the front door to emphasise this power.

So why not consider investing in the Mountain Ash for your garden – be free of evil spirits and attract a multitude of feathered friends? Bargain!

n Find out more about British Wildlife at Russ’s website: