Oak factoid

There are 2,300 species associated with oak, 320 of which are found only on oaks. Here is a gallery of wildlife photographed in the park’s oaks.

Header picture: Oak Bridge by DKG

Blue tit

by Simon Knight

Along with everything else going on in the world, I was beginning to find the recent dull weather slightly depressing. I have also found it frustrating from a photography point of view, as I only like to take pictures in good light, and you don’t get good light without the sun! The recent dullness has been especially frustrating as I have had a new lens to test which needs good light for me to be able to get the best out of it. 

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There is a family of Eurasian wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) sharing a winter territory in the copse to the north east of the big pond. Have you seen them?

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On the twelfth day of Christmas

The park’s twelve drummers drumming are great spotted woodpeckers. They begin drumming at the end of winter as part of a courtship ritual in which the male marks out his territory and advertises his presence by drumming his beak against hollow wood 10 to 20 times in just 2 seconds, and the females replies briefly as she enters his territory.

Here is a video:

Video recorded in March 2019 by George Ewart

On the seventh day of Christmas

my true love sent to me seven swans a-swimming.

Mute swans (Cygnus olor) come to the park to graze, not to swim or raise chicks. They break their long journey to some faraway lake or river, to rest and eat in the park’s green fields. We are a swan service station.


Four calling birds

Not calling birds, according to the experts, but colly birds. Colly is an old word for soot or coal dust and a colly bird is a blackbird. We have tuneful blackbirds by the dozen in the park.

Audio by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) xeno-canto.org

On the first day of Christmas

my true love sent to me

a partridge in a pear tree. The park’s partridges are Perdix perdix, the grey partridge, not the pretty little North American plumed partridge, Perdix plumifera, sitting in our Christmas card’s pear tree. Neither does the park actually have any pear trees: cherries, plums, sloes, apples and pedants aplenty but no pears at all. Nevertheless…

Christmas greetings from the Friends of Southwick Country Park.

Christmas robins

A Christmas Eve gallery of the park’s robins, photographed by DKG.

Not a partridge in a pear tree…

but a wood pigeon in a willow tree.

A wood pigeon in a willow tree, fluffed up against the cold of Wednesday’s bright, frosty morning.

Camouflage

Some of our residents are really quite hard to see. Here are some of DKG’s pictures of the well-camouflaged.

Header picture: public domain.

Clever corvid

Here’s a clever carrion crow (Corvus corone) bringing a piece of dried bread, from a bird table somewhere in Studley Green, to soak it in our pond until it is soft enough to eat.

The winter thrushes

Fieldfare (Turdus pilarus) and redwing (Turdus musicus), migratory thrushes from mainland Europe, are common winter visitors to the park. They are easily confused; here is a video to help you distinguish the two species.

Header picture: Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) by Teresa Reynolds (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Otter

Here’s an interesting thing:

among mammals, otters have the thickest fur. In every square inch of a Eurasian otter’s skin, there are around half a million hairs. For comparison: the average dog has 15,000 hairs per square inch and the average human, only 1,000.

Tu-whit tu-whoo

Thanks to Sarah Gould for reminding us that the tawny owl’s classic tu-whit tu-whoo noise is, in fact, made by two birds in conversation.

Click for audio

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