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old'un

One for sorrow, Two for joy

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Went for my Sunday morning walk around a couple of farms near me, the woods are full of pigeons, they are moving up and down the woods and then dropping onto the grass fields, looking across the fields I spotted a line coming from a small wood, it was made-up of groups of 7 or 8 birds and the line tailed back a good 600 yards, putting the binoculars on this line I could not believe what I was seeing, they were Magpies, I watched this for around 5 minutes and estimated around 100+ birds, I know magpies gang-up at this time of year but I have never seen numbers like this before.

Groups of magpies are said to predict the future, ‘One for sorrow, Two for joy’ wonder what 100+ are telling us?

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Might we start seeing pics of 100 plus bags of magpies. Don't see why not rooks and jackdaw population has exploded in recent years.

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Never seen that many magpies but even down on the south coast I'm seeing  more jackdaws than ever !!

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2 hours ago, figgy said:

Might we start seeing pics of 100 plus bags of magpies. Don't see why not rooks and jackdaw population has exploded in recent years.

I don’t know about that but I could not believe the numbers, been shooting a long time and spent a fair few hours out in fields and woods but this was a first for me.

1 hour ago, prem1234 said:

Never seen that many magpies but even down on the south coast I'm seeing  more jackdaws than ever !!

Like I said it was a first for me seeing those sort of numbers, we get gangs of 5s and 10s but never seen that many in one go.

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That is a lot of those pests. The most I have seen was something like 24.

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1 hour ago, JDog said:

That is a lot of those pests. The most I have seen was something like 24.

Yep, the most I had seen before that was around 30 when a sparrow hawk had locked onto a young Magpie and its screams and the commotion pulled every Magpie within a mile, also watched a gang of 20 or so Magpies following a fox that was carrying a mixy rabbit that was screaming its head off.

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We would have to be lucky , or unlucky to see those sort of numbers , just about every farm both large and small that pool there land for game shooting would have at least one Larsen trap and any vermin that is shot on a shooting day is not included in the days bag , although when the cards are filled out they would come under various .

Never known them to flock up like Pigeons and then move around the counties or the country and at this time of the year with the abundance of food about there isn't any need for them to move about .

What would be your reason seeing numbers as large as that ??

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28 minutes ago, marsh man said:

We would have to be lucky , or unlucky to see those sort of numbers , just about every farm both large and small that pool there land for game shooting would have at least one Larsen trap and any vermin that is shot on a shooting day is not included in the days bag , although when the cards are filled out they would come under various .

Never known them to flock up like Pigeons and then move around the counties or the country and at this time of the year with the abundance of food about there isn't any need for them to move about .

What would be your reason seeing numbers as large as that ??

The area where these Magpie were heading is part of a large wood (around 200 acres) the wood is owned by the council (not shot) and backs onto a couple of farms I shoot, there are no game shoots in the area, the Magpies were flying from a small wood on one of the farms and heading to the big wood, as to the reason why they were in the small wood in the first place it could possibly be that something was happening to draw them to this small wood, who knows? best of it is you are lucky if you see two or three magpies on these farms.

Like I said I could not believe my eyes when I put the binoculars across the field and watched an almost constant stream of birds heading to the big wood, I don’t suppose I will ever see that again.  

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Last summer I counted 22 all together in some cherry trees on a local estate, I went for a shooting session today down the marsh and counted 8 or 9 together but they are so wary I couldn't get near them, I watch them flying in across the field only to veer away as soon as they see decoys, how do they know they are only decoys, they are just too clever by half, I reckon I have only managed to shoot 2 in the last year, give me pigeons anytime 

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most I ever saw was 37 working hedge like locusts looking for nests.

my last cartridge would be used for a magpie over anything.

f.

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I had a similar experience a few years ago.  In late Autumn, at sunset, I was driving along a track with a hedge immediately on its right side.  80 yards to my left is a disused quarry.  There's an inter-connecting hedge between the track and quarry.

I noticed a fair few magpies skipping out of the game cover hedge, along the inter-connecting one and dropping down into the quarry.  I stopped the car and watched.  For the next 10 minutes there was wave after wave of them, moving in groups of between 5 and 20, all following the same line dropping into the quarry.  I don't know how many had already passed through before I got there but I estimated 60-80 birds that I saw.

I know they set up nest sites along the quarry bank because I find it one of my best trapping spots.  I'm sure the quarry gives them a pretty safe and warm roosting site.  Maybe they roost in large groups outside of the breeding season, for a sort of safety in numbers approach?  After that, maybe the battle of the fittest pushes the weaker ones out leaving the prime nesting sites for the dominant birds?

I don't think I'll ever see that again... purely for the reason that I run a lot more Larsen traps now and I've had a couple of particularly successful years keeping them thinned out!  This year you would have struggled to spot a magpie in the area I keep from early June onwards, with them only creeping back in as the summer weather waned away.  There was one stubborn trap-shy bird, very canny, I never managed to sneak up on him with the gun despite many attempts!!

Edited by Jim Neal

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hello, i would presume due to the GL fiasco the magpies had a better breeding season, i am sure this will be very detrimental to our nesting song birds in Spring 2020 

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