Sparks Nature

John Sparks Monthly Nature Newsletter

In spite of John Sparks 2014 resolution to reduce the amount of time he spends each month photographing and collecting materials to include in his Nature Notes, John continues to flourish and enlighten readers on many interesting aspects of nature.  His writings cover the Leigh Woods area and broader Somerset and Bristol areas. The section below is taken from the February 2015 newsletter. A full copy can be downloaded through the link at the bottom of the page. Other monthly newsletters can be downloaded too (see bottom of page).


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The ‘King’ is back.  At this time of the year, a Goldcrest tends to descend from the pine trees onto the front wall by our kitchen to pick  crumbs left by the larger birds. This year was no exception, except that this month, a pair of them often arrived together. One or other of them visited the feeding station several times a day.

NN Feb2015 pic2

This winter,  I saw no Blackcaps  in  the garden. However, David   Smith who lives in Winchester was luckier and sent me this photo  of a male that frequented his garden not far from the centre of town. The most  interesting series of photos was e-mailed to me by Sally’s sister Teresa  who  lives in Taunton. They show that Rooks are capable of apparently intelligent  behaviour.

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A few pairs of Rooks nest in a large Oak next to their house, and the birds regularly come   down into their garden to raid whatever food is available. One bird evolved behaviour that enabled it to take seed from a tit feeder hanging just beyond its reach. 

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This crafty Rook learned to lean forward to seize one of the perches projecting from the feeder’s  side and pull it to set the feeder swinging.

Then on the rebound, the bird leant forward to grab a seed from the bottom dispenser. On the right, Teresa managed to get a key picture showing a seed in the bird’s bill. Members of the  crow family are known to be ‘clever’ and have often shown that they are capable of learning to solve quite complicated problems when there is a reward  of food in the offing.

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To see the full Nature Publication for February 2014, please click the link: Nature Notes February 2015

For previous publications select from the following list: Nature Notes January 2015; Nature Notes December 2014; Nature Notes November 2014; Nature Notes October 2014; Nature Notes September 20141; Nature Notes August 2014; Nature Notes July 2014 part 1; Nature Notes July Part 2; Nature Notes June 2014; Nature Notes May 2014; Nature Notes Edn April 2014; Nature Notes March 2014; Nature Notes Lite - February 2014Nature Notes Lite - January 2014; Nature Paper - November 2013; Nature Paper - October 2013; Nature Paper - September 2013; Nature Paper - August 2013Nature Paper - July 2013

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