The Countryside About Us: March 1993

posted 25 Feb 2013, 11:42 by James Mansell
It was good to see during the recent winter days, flocks of fieldfares and lapwings foraging on the pasture and bare ploughed land. It amuses me to watch the whole flock facing in the same direction feeding along as if under some unseen control. They usually prefer to face into the prevailing wind. The mistle thrush, another winter visitor related to fieldfares, was not so obvious. Neither did I observe any redwings. What you can be sure to see are large flocks of pigeons. Lovers of young oil seed rape plants or winter greens in the garden or allotment, a flock can decimate an area very effectively and in a very short time. It is strange how some areas are completely ignored by them, whilst other fields are much favoured. Probably where there are good roosting trees at night close by might be the explanation. It is little wonder that every so often a blitz against them is organized by farmers and others. This is far more effective than the gas gun explosions. The predictable bangs usually fail to spread alarm for very long.

In conversation with other bird enthusiasts in the village it has been remarked how fewer of our garden birds have appeared at their bird tables. Blue tits and great tits seem in short supply. This has not been my experience, I’m pleased to relate. Whilst no exotic species have appeared I’ve recorded my usual gatherings of blue, great and, less numerous, coal tits. Greenfinches and chaffinches quickly find the offerings of rape and linseed put out for them. Strangely enough I never see any yellow hammers at the bird table, yet they are readily seen in nearby hedgerows. Robins of course are always nearby, although one I found the other day will not experience the coming springtime. Lying feet up on the Cretingham road, with no obvious injury, I puzzled over how he met so sudden an end to his perky life.

Roger Sykes