StarlingA highlight from yesterday’s Comberton village land, Westfield survey – for the second time out of the three survey visits so far, a pair of starlings was visiting one of the old ash trees near the telescope base at Westfield. It certainly looks like they are intent on breeding there, which would be the first territory at that site since 2006! Although they are recorded every year these are mostly either winter visitors early in the year, or visiting family parties later in the breeding season, and I seem to remember some birds were foraging for food to take to nesting areas in the village recently.

Starlings last held a territory on the land purchased in 1998 in 2009, but have been a bit more consistent on our Barton village land of  Tinkers Fields, Telegraph Field and Warners Field survey patches, where they were last confirmed in 2015.

My impression from their behaviour is that they are laying claim to a nesting site, but probably haven’t started nesting yet. Most likely they are interested in an old woodpecker hole. Strange to be getting so excited about something so common, but that’s a mark of how much these birds have deserted the countryside these days.