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South Warwickshire, England.
The Oxhill News
Nature Notes from past years
The Nature Notes articles by Grenville Moore have been a regular feature in the Oxhill News for many years. The News will be reprising some of Grenville's articles so that they can be enjoyed all over again. Here is am article from January 2003.
January: the midwinter
month, named after the double-faced Roman God Janus, who looks back
towards the Old and forward to the New Year.
Well no sooner had I
mentioned seeing a Barn Owl and what a rare occurrence that is, than Tom
Heritage mentioned that he had seen what he thought was a family group of
no less than five Bam Owls hunting the fields between Oxhill and Tysoe. A
Bam Owl has on average
young and this may have been a second brood hatched at the end of August
to September. They take eight to ten weeks mature to flight. The other
morning while walking my dog in the dark, I heard at least three
screeching (they are often referred to as screech owls) across the field
to each other.
On the subject of birds of
prey, while walking down
Sparrow hawk chasing a green woodpecker (not the ones described in the article)
The hawk on the other hand seeing 'man' stood on her air brakes, veered off, and losing her concentration called off the attack. The question is did the woodpecker use it's cunning to involve man in it's escape, or was it just down to luck?
a Green Woodpecker
This takes me back to summer
a year or so back when we were leaning on our fence talking to Bill
Gardner when we heard a terrible cacophony of bird alarm calls and a
bundle of flapping wings from over by the beehives in the far corner of
Bill's field. With Bill's permission, I hopped (a middle-aged struggle
would describe it better) over the fence and made my way across the field
to find a male sparrow hawk (male sparrow hawk bright grey underpants with
red-brown barring, about 12in (30 cm) high; female darker brown and
duller, but up to 25-30% larger standing 15in (38 cm) and a wingspan 4-6in
wider) clutching on to the back of a similar-sized Green woodpecker who in
turn was hopping about unable to take off and furiously attempting to peck
at the hawk. Green woodpeckers are very fond of bees and their larvae, so
it had obviously been pounced on while investigating the hives. At my
approach the startled Sparrow hawk released the woodpecker and flew off,
and the woodpecker ruffled it's feathers and also flew off
unharmed. Perhaps I am destined to become the saviour of Green woodpeckers
-Saint Grenville of Woodpeckers!!
On the 18th January
tradition has it that you must greet the first new moon of the New Year,
and the days will now be growing noticeably longer. But remember- As the
days lengthen, so the cold strengthens (Digby 1669). On that note, I wish
you all the best for the New Year.
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Last modified: January 21, 2016