Nature Notes: And so to bed

Nature Notes: And so to bed

Nature Notes: And so to bed

First published in Nature Notes Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Every evening, lasting for up to an hour or so as dusk approaches, wave after wave of jackdaws fly over my garden and Wimbledon town centre heading in a south-easterly direction to their distant winter roost somewhere beyond Morden.

Calling loudly they fly rapidly in groups of from four to fifty or more and I estimate that over a thousand birds must be involved passing over.

Arrowing in the same direction go flocks of yelping parakeets so the whole spectacle is quite noisy.

The jackdaw's return in the morning in the opposite direction is fragmented and haphazard with no organised flocks. The jackdaw's population has escalated in recent years and they are a familiar sight in Richmond and Bushy parks and the Wetland Centre, frequenting the cafe areas where they are so tame, demanding tit-bits (see photo).

Large flocks of a hundred plus redwings are also busy in grassy areas and berried bushes and during the recent brief Arctic blast even more arrived from Scandinavia to spend the winter here.

Another bird showing itself more in autumn is the colourful jay, often seen flying around woodland margins with acorns in their beaks which they bury for a winter food source. Jays are better than squirrels at remembering just where they put them but any forgotten may germinate and grow into oak saplings, a canny method of seed dispersal that nature relies on to promote a new oak woodland.

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