Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

February 2016

This months News



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