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Garden wildlife mystery

Discussion in 'off topic' started by hc25036, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. hc25036

    hc25036 pfm Member

    Relatively new garden (2 years), planted for wildlife and getting plenty of insects, birds (mostly sparrows, goldfinch, robins with a few collared doves and wood pigeons), and multiple hedgehogs. Not seen a squirrel since we moved here.

    Viewing the estate (all 45 square metres), we've found dozens of holes in the grass in groups of 3-8 all over. If there were squirrels we would say they were holes for food stashes. We are stumped, so of course turn to the PinkFish massive for help. The vast majority of these (60 or so) appeared overnight! There's a pound coin in the images to give an idea of size.



  2. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Something has been digging for grubs like leatherjackets
  3. Bananahead

    Bananahead pfm Member

    Did you try poking a finger into them?
  4. calorgas

    calorgas Ratty bumpkin

    I agree with the grub digging suggestion. Squirrels don't tend to leave visible holes as they don't want anything else to find their stashes.
  5. Waxy

    Waxy Active Member

    I suspect Corvids
  6. calorgas

    calorgas Ratty bumpkin

    Yeah I was thinking the same, though they don't tend to operate overnight!
  7. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    I agree it’s corvids
    Seen them doing the same in my garden.
  8. wow&flutter

    wow&flutter pfm Member

    If they’re leaving two pound coins everywhere don’t change anything:D!
    MikeMA, Paul L, Rob998 and 4 others like this.
  9. hc25036

    hc25036 pfm Member

    Not very deep, no more than a centimetre or 2.

    You have no idea how long it took me to find a UK coin in this house of online accounts and ApplePay!

    Guessing it is corvids - we realise now that we hear magpies very early in the morning (which is overnight as far as we are concerned), but we never see them. They are welcome to as many leatherjackets they can find, especially at £1 per meal!

    Thanks all for your help.
  10. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Usual culprit is starlings probing for leatherjackets. Holes would be 10-15mm across on the surface.
    Amongst corvids, I have never seen anything but jays probing the ground, although rooks will do, and jays are either hiding or retreiving food (classically, acorns), as are maggies in the main, but at nothing even approaching this density. I have watched flocks of starlings combing the ground under rough grass many times, probing every few inches as they go.

    Very, very unlikely to be any species of crow, IMO.
    hc25036 likes this.
  11. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    I've watched a green woodpecker digging for grubs (or ants?) in what used to be a lawn, but only by day, obviously. Unlike the spotted variety they don't seem to peck very much wood.
  12. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Hedgehogs would be another possibility, but ony if you reckon the holes appeared during darkness. If you can't be 100% certain that they appeared during proper darkness - starlings.
    hc25036 likes this.
  13. hc25036

    hc25036 pfm Member

    We've had hedgehogs coming to the garden for 18 months, and thius is the first time we've had this. I'll try the trail camera tonight, but will have to get lucky to catch the culprit on camera!
  14. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    agree with starlings, tho those are quite wide for starling holes, but it's a flock of something...far too many for one bird. Autumn is leather jacket time so probably that, tho if you had a rookery nearby, or jackdaws? You'd hear them first however. Noisy little sods :)
  15. peterm

    peterm pfm Member

    They're nice neat little holes!

    We have rooks (hundreds of them) in trees along a disused railway embankment at the back of us and every morning I find holes more like 10 cms across with grass scattered across the lawn roots, soil and all.

    There are lots of crane flies about too and it's the larvae (leatherjackets) that the rooks are looking for.
  16. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    O.p., you don't live in Blackburn Lancashire, by any chance? If you do, it's Beatles
  17. Somafunk

    Somafunk pfm Member

    I have oystercatchers making holes in my garden looking for worms but the holes are tiny compared to yours, I’d take a guess at a peg leg pirate staggering about drunk at night looking for his cache of treasure.
  18. Nero

    Nero Call me 'Goose'

    Bumblebees nesting for the winter?
  19. hc25036

    hc25036 pfm Member

    Thanks all. Given our normal fauna, we reckon birds of some sort, with hedgehogs as a backup. Got home too late and knackered to put the trail camera out, but will report back if the mystery is solved.
  20. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I've noticed the same thing, though rather fewer holes, on my front lawn. I'm thinking something digging for Leatherjackets.

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