A mast year
It's been almost impossible to go out for a walk lately and not get bonked on the head by a falling acorn or beech nut. The paths through the woods are strewn with the trees' bounty, far too much for the squirrels to hide away as is their usual wont. I'm sure they're as busy as they usually are; they just can't keep up with what's available.
I was reminded recently of the term mast year, which describes exactly what we're experiencing this autumn. My reasoning on why this is happening is:
- We had a mild, wet winter so the trees had a good drink and had plenty of opportunity to prime themselves ready for spring without snow, frost and ice getting in the way
- Blossom came early, and for once it wasn't blown away by a winter storm or loosened by a frost
- It was a warm spring so the bees and other pollinators maximised their activities in the sunshine
- They were so efficient that even the later spring and early summer drought wasn't sufficient to bring fruiting down to a more normal level
- Summer rain was just enough to bring all those fruits and nuts along to maturity