There's an interesting British Trust for Ornithology article about this; see BTO.
I think this is wild cherry blossom that has dropped a petal. There are usually five petals to a flower.
The recent mild weather has brought out many flowers and buds early but there is a concern that they might be damaged by any sharp frosts.
We saw or heard three song thrushes on our walk around the wood on Thursday morning. They normally sit high in a tree to sing and one characteristic is that they repeat a phrase, often three times. A very melodious song. There aren't many red berries about now, most having been consumed but there are still plenty of ivy berries. These are black and a very important source of food during the winter. I also saw redwings, which are a type of thrush and who are winter visitors, feeding on the ivy. They sometimes travel in large flocks hunting for any berries and they can quickly strip a tree or shrub of its fruit. Of course, this helps the plant because the seed will pass through the bird and be dropped far from the parent plant and will have a greater chance of successful growth.
Other birds that were feeding on the ivy today are Wood Pigeons. Wood Pigeons tend to be very noisy and if you hear a lot of rustling in the shrubs or trees it will most likely be either a wood pigeon bustling its way through or a squirrel hanging on the smallest twig to get at the fruit. It is surprising that more Wood Pigeons don't break their wings on branches as they flap through, and also that more squirrels aren't injured by falls.
We were pleased to hear two Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming on Thursday. They were towards the Doncaster Road end of the wood and were noisily proclaiming their territory or trying to attract a mate. They drum only during the breeding season so it is one more sign that Spring is just around the corner. Here is a photo I put in an earlier post of one of a pair that I saw near the Lakewood Road entrance.
The green woodpecker doesn't drum but has an unmistakeable characteristic laughing call.
I'm sure that robins sing their beautiful song just for our pleasure.. but they do seem to enjoy singing it so much themselves too. This one serenaded me in the meadow on Wednesday.
They do also have a 'tic tic' warning call that you might hear. It's very similar to the call of a wren but whenever I've spotted the caller it has been a robin. It is a very common call so do listen out for it. Listen here to hear what to listen for: robin call.
I mentioned in the previous post the recently fallen ash tree over the Trym. It had fallen across the path but the council were quick to come and clear the way. It was passable to the more agile among us but was still a barrier to the less mobile. Even after the path had been cleared the tree was still a challenge to at least one young man on a December day. Fortunately he made it there and back under the watchful eye of adults. Needless to say caution is required. I am sure that the tree will be a landmark for some time to come.
There was a Work Party in the wood today. It was a joint venture with FOBW and Avon Wildlife Trust. Here we are having instruction on coppicing. It was hard work but very satisfying and the plants, insects and birds will all benefit. But more on that next time...
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