Tuesday 16 August 2011

Cold nights

Over the last week or so, it's been really noticeable that the year is turning. Nights are colder, the wind has a bite to it. The full moon has been hanging low and golden in the sky or swathed in an almost autumnal mist.

The birds that populate my own personal calendar are telling me this too. Swallows are just starting to line up on wires and today I saw my first jay on it's low swooping acorn flight.

Jays are amazing birds. They are bright beautiful crows, with that corvid cleverness. They're here all year round, but in the Autumn they are suddenly everywhere. Flying from oak to oak, they collect as many acorns as they can and cache them.

This, together with their big brassy voice, inspired their scientific name Garrulus glandarius: Chattering, producing acorns.

Each jay can hide between 3000 and 5000 acorns in a year. They play a big part in regenerating oak woodland: each time they forget exactly where they hid the acorn it gets a chance to germinate.

Now I've mentioned them, you'll see they're everywhere. Enjoy them.

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