Nature notes


Starlings prepare to join a murmuration

Seen on Rye roofs from our garden in the early evening last week were several hundred starlings (see above), strangely quiet compared to their familiar behaviour of kicking up a din with their excited chattering. Their usual autumn roosting takes place in November, but in some years this can start as early as September, when they begin to flock together in their hundreds and thousands. One place they seem to return to every year is Brighton Pier, where this video clip was made.

A young woodpecker at work

Seen in a reader’s garden last week was this young green woodpecker, searching for ants, its favourite food, in the short grass of a garden lawn. According to the RSPB
they also eat caterpillars and beetles. Their beaks are not so strong as those of the spotted woodpecker, so they are incapable of drumming into hard tree trunks, a familiar mating call. They prefer rotten wood and use their sticky tongues to extract insects from the crevices of old, rotting trees.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .

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