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Offline Bertwhistle  
#1 Posted : 07 March 2019 19:20:21(UTC)
Bertwhistle

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Posts: 5,565
Location: Central Southern England

New thread- Random Nature Sightings would have done.

Starling murmurations are nothing new- lovely phenomena; but today I witnessed a small pre-murmuration gathering over the rooftops- perhaps only 40-50 starlings- going through the moves.

This is nothing particular- for years I drove down to Southampton Docks in the winter late afternoons to watch as gradually sixes, eights, tens or twenties, fifties or more, and sometimes just twos or threes, rallied from their daytime hangouts to be together at dusk.

Today, however, for the first time ever, I witnessed this small group joined by another species: upward of a dozen crows- jackdaws I think but they might have been large enough for carrions- joining the fun. I jest not- they were turning and twisting, drooping and looping with the starlings without any suggestion that they wanted to harm or disrupt them. I thought at one point the starlings were losing form, maybe threatened, and would disband; but they continued, doing their thing with the silly playful crows joining in. Although making no shape of their own in the sky, they seemed to add dark synchronised blotches to the whole game and were remarkably compliant.

Wanted to tell in case it's a one and only, and maybe one other poster will see it. Or, if it's happened elsewhere, we can share!

Regards. 

Bertie, Itchen Valley.

Remember Finlake!

Wanna join the discussion?! Login to your TheWeatherOutlook forum account. New Registrations are disabled.

User is suspended until 31/01/2293 12:26:49(UTC) Gray-Wolf  
#2 Posted : 08 March 2019 10:34:04(UTC)
Gray-Wolf

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Location: Mytholmroyd

Hi Bertie!

We have numerous 'clans' of jackdaw around the valley but , at twilight, all the clans muster into some kind of 'super gathering' with 'flights' of one clan or other joining the meet/leaving the meet over the period of the gathering.

Ours tend to act like they're riding an updraft ( reeling around together ) but then will 'tumble' and swoop to a lower level before beginning the ascent again?

Watch closely and you'll see that they are nearly all flying as a pair ( I wonder if some crafty 1st world war German pilot noted this behaviour and rolled it out into their airforce!) as they fly around.

 

 

I've been watching these weird behaviours from Corvus Monedula for 2 decades and more since I first moved into the valley and its populations of them (quite a rare bird over in my home town with just a few in Church towers but masses over in the valley here in the quarries/churches/stands of trees).

I remember being amazed at seeing tens of them swarm into a field one twilight before , on some unseen signal ,they all alighted and flew , as a group , to the next rest spot in some Tolkienesque black cloud of birds.

The humans over here follow a practice of 'beating the bounds' once a year. I wonder if part of these Jackdaw 'gatherings' are similar and they fly around their territories before they roost?

 

Koyaanisqatsi

ko.yaa.nis.katsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life disintegrating. 4. life out of balance. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.

VIRESCIT VULNERE VIRTUS

Offline Bertwhistle  
#3 Posted : 08 March 2019 18:22:20(UTC)
Bertwhistle

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Joined: 20/11/2015(UTC)
Posts: 5,565
Location: Central Southern England

Originally Posted by: Gray-Wolf Go to Quoted Post

Hi Bertie!

We have numerous 'clans' of jackdaw around the valley but , at twilight, all the clans muster into some kind of 'super gathering' with 'flights' of one clan or other joining the meet/leaving the meet over the period of the gathering.

Ours tend to act like they're riding an updraft ( reeling around together ) but then will 'tumble' and swoop to a lower level before beginning the ascent again?

Watch closely and you'll see that they are nearly all flying as a pair ( I wonder if some crafty 1st world war German pilot noted this behaviour and rolled it out into their airforce!) as they fly around.

 

 

 

I've been watching these weird behaviours from Corvus Monedula for 2 decades and more since I first moved into the valley and its populations of them (quite a rare bird over in my home town with just a few in Church towers but masses over in the valley here in the quarries/churches/stands of trees).

I remember being amazed at seeing tens of them swarm into a field one twilight before , on some unseen signal ,they all alighted and flew , as a group , to the next rest spot in some Tolkienesque black cloud of birds.

The humans over here follow a practice of 'beating the bounds' once a year. I wonder if part of these Jackdaw 'gatherings' are similar and they fly around their territories before they roost?

 

Interesting stuff Gray; I've also seen jackdaws play snakes and ladders in the air- catch a current then divebomb down- definitely for the thrill, by the looks of things; but not quite the coordinated flights that you mention here. And the integration with the starlings is a definite first. Keep twitching, eh?

Bertie, Itchen Valley.

Remember Finlake!

User is suspended until 31/01/2293 12:26:49(UTC) Gray-Wolf  
#4 Posted : 09 March 2019 15:48:26(UTC)
Gray-Wolf

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 27/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1,377
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Location: Mytholmroyd

Originally Posted by: Bertwhistle Go to Quoted Post

 

Interesting stuff Gray; I've also seen jackdaws play snakes and ladders in the air- catch a current then divebomb down- definitely for the thrill, by the looks of things; but not quite the coordinated flights that you mention here. And the integration with the starlings is a definite first. Keep twitching, eh?

Sadly since they ripped the trees out ( flood works) this time last year we have lost all our birds. I have seen one Wren and one robin in the garden since. My twitching is restricted to 'listening' to the populations along the railway tracks!

That said we do have a rapidly swelling Canadian Goose population and , prior to the recent pairing and settling, would put on spectacular low level fly bys!!! Who needs the red arrows when you have low flying Geese in formation!!!

Then I have my Cormorant that trawls up and down the river (and has taken to using one of the street lamps, just our side of Walkleys Clogs, as a stand in for a rock to perch on!).

Soon be warm enough for me being outside more so will get more of a view of the raptors over the Valley and our returning Swallows/Martins......along with my nighttime Bats of course!

EDIT: And lots of male Mallards chasing down the last single females ( glad I'm not there to see when they catch them....seen too much of that!!!)

Edited by user 09 March 2019 18:33:17(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Koyaanisqatsi

ko.yaa.nis.katsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life disintegrating. 4. life out of balance. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.

VIRESCIT VULNERE VIRTUS

Offline Bertwhistle  
#5 Posted : 10 March 2019 20:04:11(UTC)
Bertwhistle

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 20/11/2015(UTC)
Posts: 5,565
Location: Central Southern England

Originally Posted by: Gray-Wolf Go to Quoted Post

 

Sadly since they ripped the trees out ( flood works) this time last year we have lost all our birds. I have seen one Wren and one robin in the garden since. My twitching is restricted to 'listening' to the populations along the railway tracks!

That said we do have a rapidly swelling Canadian Goose population and , prior to the recent pairing and settling, would put on spectacular low level fly bys!!! Who needs the red arrows when you have low flying Geese in formation!!!

Then I have my Cormorant that trawls up and down the river (and has taken to using one of the street lamps, just our side of Walkleys Clogs, as a stand in for a rock to perch on!).

Soon be warm enough for me being outside more so will get more of a view of the raptors over the Valley and our returning Swallows/Martins......along with my nighttime Bats of course!

EDIT: And lots of male Mallards chasing down the last single females ( glad I'm not there to see when they catch them....seen too much of that!!!)

They've built on greenspace at the back of us; can't get a positive from my wife- understandably- but one thing she acknowledged was that there have been more birds in our garden (& neighbouring gardens) since. For us , that's great; for the bigger picture, it's just a reflection of the fact that our very leafy garden provides a corridor that wasn't needed before.

Nice to hear about the birdie exploits where you are though- especially the cormorant!

Edited by user 10 March 2019 20:05:38(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Bertie, Itchen Valley.

Remember Finlake!

User is suspended until 31/01/2293 12:26:49(UTC) Gray-Wolf  
#6 Posted : 13 March 2019 22:36:37(UTC)
Gray-Wolf

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 27/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1,377
Man
Location: Mytholmroyd

I though the Jackdaws were supreme in these winds until my Cormorant sliced through the air heading up river......

My time on Seil Island ( off Easdale?) had me well used to seeing house sized waves smashing the coast whilst the Shags and Cormorants tweedled about the coast......

Now I remember!

Koyaanisqatsi

ko.yaa.nis.katsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life disintegrating. 4. life out of balance. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.

VIRESCIT VULNERE VIRTUS

Offline Lionel Hutz  
#7 Posted : 17 March 2019 23:51:45(UTC)
Lionel Hutz

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 05/04/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,379
Man
Ireland

I heard my first chiff chaff of the year on Friday. A little earlier than usual. 

Lionel Hutz

Nr.Waterford , S E Ireland

68m ASL

Offline Roger Parsons  
#8 Posted : 18 March 2019 14:26:10(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 908
Man
Location: Lincolnshire

Commuting to the GP this month - several times a week - I have noted an absence of Buzzards until today, when I saw 4 up. It is not very different weather-wise today, so I think this probably marks the start of nesting territory selection. See:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/...breeding-nesting-habits/

If you live in a "buzzardy" area keep a lookout.

Roger

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

Offline NMA  
#9 Posted : 18 March 2019 14:39:59(UTC)
NMA

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Joined: 05/04/2006(UTC)
Posts: 1,875
Man
Location: South Dorset

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons Go to Quoted Post
Commuting to the GP this month - several times a week - I have noted an absence of Buzzards until today, when I saw 4 up. It is not very different weather-wise today, so I think this probably marks the start of nesting territory selection. See:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/buzzard/breeding-nesting-habits/

If you live in a "buzzardy" area keep a lookout.

Roger

We tend to notice them when there are thermals that allow them to go round and round looking for a rabbit carcass. Not many of those right now, rabbits that is. Where you could see dozens of rabbits a few years back you might be lucky to find one or two.  Thermals lacking too with all this cloud.

Looking forward to meeting the peregrines again on early morning beach trips in April and May as they catch breakfast.

Not forgetting the nightingales if they can make it back this year.

Nick

Offline Solar Cycles  
#10 Posted : 18 March 2019 16:51:17(UTC)
Solar Cycles

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Location: Blackburn Lancs

Online Devonian  
#11 Posted : 18 March 2019 17:47:56(UTC)
Devonian

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Location: East Dartmoor

Originally Posted by: Solar Cycles Go to Quoted Post
Oh dear 😕


https://www.cbsnews.com/video/california-solar-power-plants-ignite-birds-mid-flight/


I'd watch it all if I were you...

"In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way"

Nigel Farage, Daily Mirror, 16/5/2016

"I think the mistake the government made - led by Theresa May - from the start was to try and claim that a country that had voted 17 million to leave the EU, 16 million to stay, wanted a 100% Brexit"

Osborne, 22/12/18.

Offline Solar Cycles  
#12 Posted : 18 March 2019 19:11:35(UTC)
Solar Cycles

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Location: Blackburn Lancs

Originally Posted by: Devonian Go to Quoted Post

 

I'd watch it all if I were you...

I have and I’ve another bunch of similar stories all highlighting once again the awful plight of our wildlife at the hands of alleged environmentalists.

Online Devonian  
#13 Posted : 18 March 2019 21:31:57(UTC)
Devonian

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Posts: 26,848
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Location: East Dartmoor

Originally Posted by: Solar Cycles Go to Quoted Post

I have and I’ve another bunch of similar stories all highlighting once again the awful plight of our wildlife at the hands of alleged environmentalists.

You truly are the master of crocodile tears...because if you really cared about wildlife, and really understood the problems behind the decline of wildlife,  you'd be doing something about said problems not attacking people who do understand the those problems and what is behind those problems and are doing their best to help wildlife and find solutions.

But, you don't care, you just spend your time hear attacking people who do their best to care. It's classic trolling...Amazingly, you've been here more than a decade and you're no nearer accepting reality than you were at the start of this. Hell, I bet you think if we got rid of solar and wind power all the world's environmental problems, even A*W, would simply go away..

 

 

Edited by user 18 March 2019 21:40:03(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way"

Nigel Farage, Daily Mirror, 16/5/2016

"I think the mistake the government made - led by Theresa May - from the start was to try and claim that a country that had voted 17 million to leave the EU, 16 million to stay, wanted a 100% Brexit"

Osborne, 22/12/18.

Offline Solar Cycles  
#14 Posted : 18 March 2019 22:28:02(UTC)
Solar Cycles

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 04/09/2008(UTC)
Posts: 18,159
Man
Location: Blackburn Lancs

Originally Posted by: Devonian Go to Quoted Post

 

You truly are the master of crocodile tears...because if you really cared about wildlife, and really understood the problems behind the decline of wildlife,  you'd be doing something about said problems not attacking people who do understand the those problems and what is behind those problems and are doing their best to help wildlife and find solutions.

But, you don't care, you just spend your time hear attacking people who do their best to care. It's classic trolling...Amazingly, you've been here more than a decade and you're no nearer accepting reality than you were at the start of this. Hell, I bet you think if we got rid of solar and wind power all the world's environmental problems, even A*W, would simply go away..

 

 

I am.

I don’t buy into faux environmentalists causes. 😉

Offline Northern Sky  
#15 Posted : 18 March 2019 22:32:01(UTC)
Northern Sky

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Joined: 16/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 3,675
Location: Leeds W Yorks

I've not seen a buzzard for ages. We have so many Red Kites here I wonder if there is competition between them? 

It absolutely makes my day when I step out of the house and hear the call of Red Kites, it really is a beautiful, wild sound. It's just wonderful hearing that sound on a council estate in Leeds 

Offline Skreever  
#16 Posted : 19 March 2019 07:39:49(UTC)
Skreever

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Location: Orkney, by Scapa Flow

The male hen harrier has been around here, swooping in looking for small birds, or voles. He might be supporting more than one nest up on the hill; most years he comes up to 3 times every evening at his busiest.
Veteran of winter of 62/63

By Scapa Flow, Orkney

Offline Roger Parsons  
#17 Posted : 19 March 2019 07:41:28(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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Originally Posted by: NMA Go to Quoted Post

 We tend to notice them when there are thermals that allow them to go round and round looking for a rabbit carcass. Not many of those right now, rabbits that is. Where you could see dozens of rabbits a few years back you might be lucky to find one or two.  Thermals lacking too with all this cloud.

Looking forward to meeting the peregrines again on early morning beach trips in April and May as they catch breakfast.

Not forgetting the nightingales if they can make it back this year.

Nick

Thanks Nick. In the 70s we used to drive to Wales from Cambridgeshire and we knew we had reached the border when we started to see buzzards. Over subsequent years buzzard distribution moved eastwards and by the 80s we had buzzards over our garden in Lincolnshire. It is interesting to reflect on the factors which affected this spectacular recovery. It did of course have an impact on the prey species. One of the more intriguing comments is that Brown Hares changed their breeding habits locally, moving forms closer to human dwellings where predation was less likely.

It is worth recalling that a predator can be their prey species' greatest friend and ally, mopping up diseased and vulnerable individuals and achieving a balanced population. An effective predator does not destroy its food supply.

Roger

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

Offline Roger Parsons  
#18 Posted : 19 March 2019 07:46:50(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 908
Man
Location: Lincolnshire

Originally Posted by: Skreever Go to Quoted Post
The male hen harrier has been around here, swooping in looking for small birds, or voles. He might be supporting more than one nest up on the hill; most years he comes up to 3 times every evening at his busiest.

Now that is a great post, Skreever. Hen Harriers are always a spectacular sight - we spot them along the coast here. Roger

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

Offline NMA  
#19 Posted : 19 March 2019 08:48:17(UTC)
NMA

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Joined: 05/04/2006(UTC)
Posts: 1,875
Man
Location: South Dorset

I have only seen red kites in Wales (Tregaron Bog) and that was at the time when they were on the verge of extinction. Otters and polecats were what we were there for though.

Roger I think I see more brown hares than rabbits in this part of Dorset.

I caught a programme on TV the other night about the role of scavengers in ecosystems and how poisoning has to all intents eliminated them in India. The result more humans deaths.Very easy to understand but with consequences that are tragic for humans as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_vulture_crisis

In Africa too.

https://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/100-vulture-deaths-prevented-rapid-response-poisoning

But back to the red kites in Northern Skys back yard. It must be great for you to hear them as much as I love to hear the mewing of buzzards soaring on an April day above our house.

An oldie but still a good read.

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/shakespeares-red-kite-returns-to-london-after-an-absence-of-150-years-6111922.html

Nick

Offline speckledjim  
#20 Posted : 19 March 2019 09:05:22(UTC)
speckledjim

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 02/07/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,194
Location: Thorner, West Yorkshire 112m asl

The other day I saw my first ring necked parakeet in my locality. Seen loads in London but never up here....
It is better to play than do nothing
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