Thursday, 2 October 2014

A sky full of Jays

Jays were very obvious on Sunday morning. It is always tempting to put the increase in visibility of this attractive species down to migrant birds passing over in autumn. However, the majority of the birds I saw had acorns in their gullets and were moving between feeding and acorn storage sites. Perhaps the behavioural changes stimulated by the acorn crop just bring this secretive woodland dweller out into the open more in autumn? 

However, some birds were migrating through in small flocks, like these three heading north:

Now only the very top fields remain unploughed and these areas of stubble are a haven for wildlife. This field, just north of the village, held over 200 Linnet, 50 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipits, a Reed Bunting and probably much more:

The surrounding ploughed fields were devoid of life and this field will be turned over during the week. Of course, it doesn't have to be like this. A less intensive approach to agriculture, such as spring planting, has been shown to be economically viable and actually boosts farmland bird species. This method would leave these wildlife oases intact over the winter to provide food and cover for farmland species. Even the larger mammals, such as these Roe Deer, use the stubble for food:

It is still too warm for the traditional September misty mornings. Just a slight haze on Sunday:

But the leaves are changing nicely:

(Still) 89 species for the year.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of Jays have been around Cholsey recently (not many Oaks here), 26 in 2 days last week so I wonder if there is a minor or major local movement?