Nature Notes – October 2017
As we are having a large circulation with this edition of the Links magazine, it is necessary to go to press by the middle of September. We have certainly had a wet month so far. I added up the rain fall in the month so far at Wood Farm up to the 14th and it totalled 83.3mm or 3.28 inches. We can only hope we have an ‘Indian Summer’ at the end of the month to bring some dry sunny weather and late summer warmth.
The seasons in the agricultural calendar roll on, corn harvest is all but finished and the straw, baled and brought home. Within 24 hours of the front field being cut we had a mixed flock of Rooks, Jackdaws and Carrion Crows, up to 200 at times feeding on the odd grains of wheat which had been dropped. Following this, however unpopular this may be, comes, muck spreading, a necessary job of returning the waste animal products back to the land to improve the fertility of the soil. This brings another autumn sight as Black-headed Gulls come to feed on the recently manured ground. I estimated the flock to be over 1000 birds one afternoon. As these gulls roost out on the River Mersey smaller flocks drop in on their way out in the morning and again in the evening as they return most days, at present.
Occasionally we have a pleasant surprise, while having afternoon tea, watching the bird feeders at the back of the house. Barbara noticed a bird roosting on a ledge on the side of the large tank in the Stanlow refinery. Out with the binoculars to find it was a Peregrine Falcon. It was there for nearly an hour, it had found a sheltered spot out of wind, but several Magpies tried their best to move it on but it just ignored them.
Talking of Magpies I counted a flock of 16 together last week. I have mentioned this before about the high numbers we have around the farm, why this should be I find hard to explain. Another conundrum is why we had lost all the Coal Tits in our area? (a small bird with a black head and a white stripe down the centre of the skull). We have not recorded one in the garden for over two years. Then surprise, surprise! Barbara saw one on the feeder today and I managed just a brief view. Granted they have a preference for conifer trees and we do not have any in our garden. If you have them coming to your bird feeders please let me know.
Most of the Swallows and House Martins have left for Africa but I have seen a few each day this month passing through. They stay for a few minutes feeding around the garden and buildings then they are away on their journey south. As we lose one group of birds for the winter another returns as a Grey Wagtail came back. It will be around all winter I hope as it is one of my favourite birds. In my previous two months notes I have mentioned about the low numbers of Butterfly sightings. I am pleased to say that during the past fortnight most of the common species have been seen daily, which is a good note to end on.