Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

February 2016

This months News

Contents

 

Nature Notes

While travelling down from Herd Hill and to the crossroads to Oxhill, over the last few weeks I have been lucky enough to see a murmuration of starlings and also lapwings.  The starlings now number 800-odd and these displays are a frequently observed but a little-understood phenomenon and can involve up to three million birds at any one time, a vast squadron of individuals, but flying as one, picking out geometric swirling patters, led by some strange force not yet understood.  In the bird world a murmuration is usually only applied to starlings, but over the last few weeks I have seen a large flock of lapwings, numbering about 400, performing a very good interpretation of a murmuration.  What is exceptionally good about both these sightings is that the numbers of both species has been in decline in Britain and there has been a downward trend since the early 1960s for the lapwing, which has increased over recent years.  I have not seen such a large flock for more than ten years, so very good to see.

I have just received a report of a goldcrest in a garden on Main Street.  This exquisite little bird, Britainís smallest, is usually to be found in areas of well-grown conifers where they feed on small insects and spiders, so quite a rare sighting in a garden.

Many birds will start to pair off during February, especially around the 14th, St Valentineís Day.  It also marks the day of the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.  The first person of the opposite sex you see today, excepting your family, must be your Valentine; but it is permissible to keep your eyes shut until the right person appears!

Grenville Moore

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Last modified: February 08, 2016