Location, Location, Location
In our last Volunteers Newsletter of 2020, Cap once again fascinates us with his observations on nature:
Location, location and again location can be a survival ticket for many
in the animal world and not a tired TV property programme you watch
in desperation when there’s nothing else.
The old feeding station area under the branches of a willow needed
a rest having sprouted an unwanted area of birdseed grasses in the last few
years; so it was in with a new bird feeder next to a hedge, albeit a bit
It was not long, a few hours in fact, and they came. Everybody jostling
and pushing to get a beak full: Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, House
Sparrows and Tree Sparrows.
I hope for more – what about a Nuthatch or a Goldcrest or a real treasure, a Great Spotted Woodpecker. It’s all here for all comers.
They must eat and eat and eat. Small birds have a large surface
area comparable to a small volume, thus losing heat quickly. They must
eat a lot to keep themselves warm and survive the next 24 hours.
That prime location can come with dangers however. A female Sparrowhawk came looking for a meal, but she was quickly pursued
by crows. Shaking them off she nonchalantly perched on an arcade in the
garden next door. The crows returned but with a little twist of her tail she was
Then it was back to business; eat, eat and eat. It’s going to be a long,
The sycamores chose the wrong location however, all dozens and
dozens if not hundreds of them. It seemed a legion had marched in to set
up camp around the base of the plum tree, going at least eight feet in one
direction and six feet in another. It was a crowded canopy no more than
a foot off the ground.
It was easy I thought, you just whip them off. And it was easy, you
just gave them a pull and up came some tiny roots plus leaves. But left
behind was a tough, tenacious, never-give-up tap root. All the tugging
in the world might bring up some of it, but the rest would sprout again
There was nothing for it but get down on the knees and attack with a
small fork and trowel. Muscle power would win the day which it did, but
only just. Sycamores are a fine tree standing alone but not a legion –
in the wrong location.
For marine animals the prized location can be a bit crowded, but that’s ok.
Top seats went to the Cormorants on a rocky spur just below Ravenscraig
Castle and the juvenile seals (all eight of them) had the bottom row.
They shuggled and jostled, heaved about a bit, shifted this way and that
and settled to their business. The spotted juveniles went to sleep while
the cormorants with unconcerned boredom stretched their wings to dry.
Two very different inhabitants of the animal world occupied a small
space and used it well and without combat. Is there a lesson for us
somewhere on that rock?