From small acorns


Our two most common oak species are Pedunculate and Sessile. My picture shows Pedunculate or Common Oak with its characteristic long stalked acorns.

This tree was a hive of activity when I watched it recently.

Numerous wood pigeons were guzzling the acorns as if there was no tommorrow!

You might be surprised to hear a Cushie can swallow something as big as an acorn, but they do so with ease.

In fact, the majority of the woodies were juveniles, but still they had no problem knocking back these enormous nuts.

In fact, despite the oft repeated fact that wood pigeons produce their young in late summer to coincide with the grain harvest, my own belief is that they are in sync with the acorn and beech mast crops.

As fast as the woodies were swallowing acorns, several jays were harvesting the nuts for another reason.

These colourful members of the crow family were carrying the acorns to the nearby field and burying them. Of course, the intention of the jays is to use these secret stores to see them through winter.

Mind you as the field was a crop of young rape, already three or four inches tall, I did wonder if the crop would be too tall for the Jays to relocate their hidden acorns when they needed them!

Given that the crow family are famously clever, I gave the birds the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure they know what they are doing.

However, it is said that most Oak trees grew from acorns planted by Jays,so obviously not all hidden treasures are found.

Regardless of all the bird and squirrel activity around the acorn harvest,the thing that intrigues me most about old oak trees is their sheer antiquity!

They have witnessed many events now shrouded in unrecorded history.

No doubt they could tell us some incredible stories of our forgotten past.

Oaks are above all great keepers of secrets!