Of mumurations, amnesties and joiners

22 Dec

This will appear in the January Edition of the Sherston Cliffhanger magazine.

We are now in deep winter with many bird spending the winter here or changing their behaviour. Our native Goldcrest is the smallest bird that is here all year round (see photo taken on a copse on the Cliff) and weights half the weight of a pound coin. A pound coin weights about 9 grams while a Goldcrest weights about 5g – just pick up a coin…. What’s even more amazing is the the Goldcrest is joined by a close relative – the Firecrest – which migrates here although some do breed here. Can you imagine a bird weighing half the weight of a pound coin flying hundreds of miles!!

Goldcrest - the gold crest is distinctive - and they are SO small

Goldcrest – the gold crest is distinctive – and they are SO small

Our local population of Starlings are joined by others migrating from parts of northern Europe. In mid December a couple of people made me aware we had our very own mumuration of Starlings. As you may have sen on wildlife programmes, Starlings can gather together to form huge flocks which whoosh around the sky just before they roost at dark and form fantastic patterns. Sherston has (or had – as they may have moved since mid December) our very own near the vineyard on the back road to Brook End.

The amnesty in the title is about what’s in my garage. A couple of years ago I bought a number of nest boxes many of which have been installed. I do, however, have two sitting in the garage which I will be putting up in Grove Wood. If anyone has unwanted nest boxes would you let us put them up in the wood?

This brings me to the final point. Barn Owls are under significant pressure because of limited food supply at some times of the year but also a lack of nesting sites. Is there anyone willing, with reasonable joinery skills, to build a nest box for Barn Owls? I have some of the material and can supply the design and I am sure any other material can be scrounged from around the village. The next box is a bit bigger than a tea chest (for those who remember this endangered species) and would need to be ready by the end of January to be installed in the wood. It could make a great project for these long winter evenings so please let me know ….

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One Response to “Of mumurations, amnesties and joiners”

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  1. Flash Mobbed Again! | Muck, Line and Thinker - December 30, 2013

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