Sunday, 6 November 2011


Test your skill !! How many woodpigeons in the above flock? (Taken yesterday at Prawle). I've been sad enough to count them - answer at the end of the post.

On the subject of Woodpigeons, this mass emigration seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon. Back when I was a lad, and the award-winning, bird-book-of-the-year 'The Birds of Prawle' was published in 1993 (now sadly out of print!), the record count for woodpigeon was 7000, counted over 2 days 22/23 October 1983. I remember being enthralled by that weekends' spectacle, hoping to see it again and again, but it happened only every few years, and in lower numbers. Now it has become an annual event, and to see the totals currently being counted - 50,000+, and all along the coast as well as inland is quite mind-blowing. Coverage these days is undoubtedly better than in the past, but it does seem that many more pigeons are passing through these days. Presumably they originate from northern Europe, but where do they all finish up? And are these movements observed all along the south coast - if so, how many millions of birds are involved? So many questions!!! Nice to know the humble Woodpigeon can be so interesting!

OK, give or take 1 or 2, there are 745 birds in the photo.