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Your unusual caching stories

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 19:18 UK time, Friday, 7 October 2011

Have you noticed any unusual caching behaviour this autumn? Have your local jays been storing loads more than normal, squirrels been using weird and wonderful places, or have you noticed band voles being suprisingly late. If you have, post a comment below... we'd love to hear.

Watch our caching film on Autumnwatch Live, Friday 7 October on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi there, I live in Strood in the Medway towns and this week I saw a sparrowhawk on my lawn. It had obviously just taken a pigeon and was plucking the feathers from it. It flew away, taking it's prey with it.

  • Comment number 2.

    hello there, i live in norwich and my brother plays football at colney training centre. he joined three seasons ago and the same sparrowhawk has been there for three seasons on the trot! do you think this is because she likes this place to bring up her young or she thinks thinks it is a good place to live? please answer my question on the show as i am listening. thank you.

  • Comment number 3.

    I've noticed that Chris is quoting Damned song titles!!!!! :0)

  • Comment number 4.

    I live near rother valley country park and whilst walking under one off the abandoned bridges I saw three mice,they dint look very old as varied in sizes but was around the same,I sat down and they looked disoriented and very slow,they wasn't really that bothered about me being there and carried on for about 20mins until I left.they literally came within arms length off me.should I take them some food down as I saw them running in and out off there home and they was looking for food I assume,I have some pics but only took on my fone and not really good

  • Comment number 5.

    grey squirrel braved the fair way of the pitch and putt to cache its nuts, dodging golf balls the whole time.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hello, we have a rescue hedgehog who seems to have eaten us out of house and home for several days, but now he has not appeared for 3 nights, so I think he must be asleep already. Any comments, by the way he is called Colin Stringfellow.

  • Comment number 7.

    Just as Autumn Watch started - the light in the back garden went on.... Mr Hedgehog has come to visit!!! - Looks like my hedgehog house recently cleaned, filled with hay and food may have a resident very soon! ;

    Hints as to what other food I should put out please?

  • Comment number 8.

    We have had some white albino starlings in our garden this year? Do you know why they would be white?

  • Comment number 9.

    Today in the park I saw two squirrels fighting over a nut I watched for 5 minutes it was so funny the squirrel which found it first manged to get away with the nut.

  • Comment number 10.

    Walking by the river Calder i have seen fresh water crayfish on the bank and in the grass near the river in September, why do they leave the river at this time of year?

  • Comment number 11.

    Just to share with you... my wellies are kept outside, upside down on a stand. The other day I went to put them on and found one of the squirrels from the family in my garden had placed a walnut and from our tree in the lining where my toes would go and blocked up with a leaf!!! Sophie aged 16, wocestershire

  • Comment number 12.

    We had a pygmy shrew running round our hall last week (cat must have brought him in). We caught him by putting a beer glass (empty!) over him and put him outside by one of the sheds on our smallholding. He's now taken up residence there as we've spotted him a couple of times since.

  • Comment number 13.

    I thought bats were a protected species? Obviously the gull doesn't know this

  • Comment number 14.

    Help! There are so many very large house spiders this year. Is the strange weather to blame and why are they so much larger than usual?

  • Comment number 15.

    I have a wood pigeon nesting in my apple tree feeding a young one as the strong winds are blowing off the leaves , is this very late for a wood pigeon to be nesting I gather they sit for longer than most birds , can it survive .

  • Comment number 16.

    We had this mad squirrel visiting the garden that chittered furiously and buried hazel nuts all over (including in all the plant-pots). Sadly, he disappeared in a cold snap and all the buried hazel nuts turned into hazel seedlings the following spring.

  • Comment number 17.

    Autumnwatch is getting more and more like Blue Peter. I can hardly bear to watch it, which is a shame because I love wildlife.

  • Comment number 18.

    hi me and my mum live in Norwich. we have a terrible problem with spiders invading our house. is it true at this time male spiders come into are homes looking for females, but they aren't indoors because we clean the spider webs and squish / throw them outside ???

  • Comment number 19.

    I have always known that Dormice climb trees to feed but did not know that voles also do this. We have a Bank Vole in our garden that is very busy caching food for winter. It climbs our honeysuckle plucks off a few berries and then eats one or two. I managed to get several images of it feeding. http://www.bluestoneimages.com/photo_8415527.html The rest of the berries are carried away to its nest in the drystone wall. I have also seen it in our apple tree taking leaves and on the ground taking carrot tops.
    Is it quite common for Bank Voles to climb trees and bushes?

  • Comment number 20.

    A pair of Collared Doves have nested in my back garden and the chicks have hatched. Isn't this very late in the year? I am worried about them; will they survive?

  • Comment number 21.

    Re: caching behaviour, I've been watching coal tits in my garden trying to place sunflower hearts on to the ends of conifer branches (possibly also cones). In another garden a few years back I watched them trying to force sunflower seeds into the flower heads of a fuchia-like shrub. I grow sunflowers, but also get random ones and see them all down our street growing out of walls and pavement - wall edges. This year I even saw one growing out of a car radiator! I'm going to try and video this behaviour.

  • Comment number 22.

    I live in the country near Tunbridge Wells and feed birds from a bird table, using dispensers for pea nuts and sunflower hearts. I feed all the year round, and up until 2/3 weeks ago I have needed to refill the dispensers about twice a day. Suddenly the 5 regular gold finches, two nut hatches, and many of the tit and finch families, have practically disappeared, and I only need to refill every other day. No cats or dogs, but have seen very occasionally a sparrow hawk. A neighbour called me to say the same yesterday. Can you explain, please? John Baddeley.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have an entertaining little coal tit in my small garden who has been caching sunflower seeds for the past week. He has been burying them in plant pots, in the gravel, in the soil, on wallclimbers etc. I also have a mirror in my garden and he spends hours flying at it. I think he is maybe defending his territory!!!
    Funnily enough my neighbour recently thanked me for the view from her loo.......we live on a victorian terrace and we had a little chuckle when we saw a beautiful sunflower was growing out of a disused chimney on my house, it was dancing away in the sunshine .....I wonder if that was planted last year!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    On your Prog 7th you asked about wildlife "CACHING" . Since my bird feeders went out on 1st September I have a gang of about 8 CoalTits continuously taking sunflower hearts and stuffing them into spaces arround the windows,in between stones in the stonedyke wall and under moss and inbetween bark in the trees ??? I have never noticed this before. cCould this be a sign of a bad winter to come???

  • Comment number 25.

    hello, i am in east yorkshire , i have a greenhouse with a grapevine in it,i leave the door open,as the grapes have ripened a black bird and its family have been taking the grapes,they are fun to watch,there arnt many grapes left now ,is it unusual for blackbirds to take a liking to grapes?

  • Comment number 26.

    Saw a crow caching food in the lead flashings in the house opposite mine.

  • Comment number 27.

    Our grey squirrels bury nuts all year around.

  • Comment number 28.

    I am currently studying Wildlife Conservation at The University of Salford and while I was walking around campus I saw an Eastern Grey Squirrel caching on Campus! I was excited to see it but also excited as I was able to identify it! I love squirrels and hope to see it again!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Magpies in our garden are copying our squirrels and are planting nuts. Is this common?

  • Comment number 30.

    I've seen magpies that appear to be collecting nesting material - are they confused by the Indian Summer or is this normal?

  • Comment number 31.

    Lots of grey squirrel activity down our lane storing food, also have seen two different instances of sparrowhawks, one who had just caught a pigeon on the side of a country lane and another one where (what i think was a female) a sparrowhawk and a crow were having an aerial dogfight over our farmland. Would that simply be a territory battle or would the sparrowhawk been having a go at the crow?? One last thing after seeing the sparrowhawk with its pigeon kill, what is it about its method of catching its prey that actually delivers the final blow, i was just simply intrigued by the behaviours of this bird after what was meant to be a standard drive on the way to nursery!!

  • Comment number 32.

    When my sister and brother-in-law came back from holiday this time last year they found a nut cache in their bungalow bedroom! Just tucked under the edge of the pillows was a row of nuts! The wood mice had found a nice dry cache and it was a shame to remove it as it must of taken a great deal of effort.

  • Comment number 33.

    When out walking in fields near Exeter, Devon saw a bird pecking in the grass that was smaller than a fieldfare but larger than a sparrow. Sorry photos not too clear as I couldn't get any nearer or more zoomed in.
    [Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 34.

    Squirrels and jays are burying acorns daily in my garden which each evening the badgers dig up! So - do badgers eat acorns - or not?

  • Comment number 35.

    Hello, autumnwatch,saw something today that I thought you might be interested in. I live in Rotherham, the river don flows right through the town. The water level has been very low for some time, exposing rocks and allowing grass and other plants to become established. today I saw a female malard fussing around among the vegitation, I had my binoculars on me and I watched her for a while, when she lifted up I counted at least 8 eggs! due to the recent rain the river is rising again and is almost up to the nest. now this is where it gets realy weird. She found an empty crisp packet, then she rolled the eggs to the sides of the nest, placed the crisp bag in the nest and then rolled the eggs back on top of her now "waterproof nest" ! ?

  • Comment number 36.

    We have a hazelnut tree in our garden which has been discovered by a young squirrel. He has not been very efficient at hiding them as the children keep discovering nuts that look abandoned on the lawn. (It's possible that his activity has been disturbed by the odd magpie or a local cat.) The strangest thing I saw though was the squirrel picking up something fairly substantial off the grass. As soon as I saw what was happening I banged on the window, because the squirrel had a dead greenfinch in its paws and was nibbling it. Fortunately I don't often get dead birds in the garden. When we do get them (last one was Auitumn last year) it is always greenfinches. Why did this happen? (My bird feeders / bird bath are kept very clean because you told us about the virus killing finches.)

  • Comment number 37.

    Are Redkites shy birds? If so the one that hangs around our Village on the Surrey/Berkshire boarder is very brave. He/She turned up last year and now just loves hanging around the houses ( I guess they are being fed) but it also likes to fly very low over people standing at bus stops or just walking down the road, as if they are just checking them out. If there,s a group of kids out playing and making a bit of noise Mr K as he has been nicknamed is usually never far away. We feel honored this beautiful has decided to move in with us.

  • Comment number 38.

    oppsss sorry missed * bird* out

  • Comment number 39.

    Forgot to mention re: grey squirrel eating greenfinch that I picked up the dead body of the bird and it looked like a very 'clean' kill. My husband thinks that the greenfinch was compromised by illness - although it's plumage was nice and bright green - and that the squirrel may have acquired a taste for meat. Is he right? By the way, I know it was rather judgemental of me and I wasn't very pro to bang on the window. I am regretting not coolly observing the whole thing while tiptoeing off to find a camera.

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi Chris, Is this rare..
    I had a walk around my local pond last week and noticed a female Mallard sat on the island and she looked to be laying very flat and at first glance i thought she was lame or injured, she did not move for several hours and as it was getting dark i left her alone, I visited the pond again the next day and noticed she was no longer there, on closer inspection i saw her again in the longer grass and to my suprise she was tendering to 11 yes 11 baby chicks a day old, I have never seen Mallard chicks this late on the pond having lived locally for 32 years, Does any know if this is common or is this a one off. The male was no were to be seen

  • Comment number 41.

    A couple of weeks ago I was sitting outside enjoying a little sunshine with my new born baby beside me in her moses basket. I heard a noise and turned round - I thought the dog had come out to join us - when I looked there was a red squirrel peeking over the edge of the moses basket looking in on my baby... it was the cutest thing... the squirrel was startled at my movement and scurried off and away before I had time to get a camera...

  • Comment number 42.

    i found a pair of white cheeked turacos in my garden wild!!!
    i got some photos

  • Comment number 43.

    What kind of Band voles were they?

  • Comment number 44.

    Because of where I live, I haven't noticed any caching behaviour (no squirrels or jays generally because it is very open), but there are many more berries on all tree/shrub species than I usually see, especially Holly, Rowan, Elderberry, fire-thorn, hawthorn and Juniper. It is debatable whether this is a sign that the coming winter could generally, in parts or all the way through be a harsh one. Some scientists think that the cold spell in December/November locked up more nitrogen than usual in the soil, which could explain the abundance of berries this autumn/even summer(some Rowans where I live started ripening early-mid July, Aug-Sept is the usual ripening time. The trees would have more nitrogen for growth etc, thus production of more fruit). It will be interesting to see whether species such as the Stoats living in Southern England (where the weather is generally warmer) turn white again this year (Scottish Stoats/ northern UK ones usually turn white because of harsher weather there), this would perhaps be another possible indicator of the coming winter weather.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm in Somerset, and a family of squirrels live in the big oak at the bottomn of my garden. They have been industriously taking the apples from my neighbour's tree, and caching them in my long grass. Then every night my fox family come along and dig the apples up and eat them! The squirrels don't seem to notice, and continue to cache the apples.

  • Comment number 46.

    We've had a few grey squirrels in the back garden and one is constantly trying to cach a nut in our door mat. It has small ridges in it and it's always trying to prise one in.

  • Comment number 47.

    Our milkman delivers our milk in the middle of the night. A hedgehog then comes and knocks the bottles over, it pierces the bottle tops and rolls them around the drive drinking the milk that drips out. My friend who lives close by also has a visiting hedgehog that does the same. Not sure if it's the same one? I thought hedgehogs were lactose intolerant. Should we be discouraging this behaviour?

  • Comment number 48.

    Update on the mallard nest on the river don Rotherham. All the eggs have gone, although I did manage to take a photo of her on the nest with the eggs clearly visible. her behavior was unusual she would sometimes sit tight on the clutch and then go "awol" yesterday she was missing when we went to have a look, but a crow was in attendance and eyeing up the eggs, I waved it away ( a futile jesture i know)she came back eventualy, poked around in the clutch, picked up one egg in her bill and flew to the other side of the river where she dropped it in the water, accidentaly? today the nest is empty.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi I was out walking today along a path by the sea when I came across what seemed to be an old metal gate on that there were a group of snails of all different sizes never seen anything like this before. i will post the photo flickr.

  • Comment number 50.

    on the hedgehog theme - while camping in guernsey we were woken by amazingly noisy hedgehogs drinking milk from our tetrapacs kept outside for coolness - they came back for more a few nights later. Maybe they needed a break to recover, but they certainly liked the milk!

  • Comment number 51.

    i have a collered dove which has just built a nest and laid 2 eggs,in a tree in my garden,surely this is far too late for the doves to have a chance of rearing any young,or do they know something about the coming winter weather that we dont

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi there,

    I cycle to work along the Farling Marshes cycle/pedestrian path and regularly voles scurry across the path ahead of me. Only 4 mornings ago this happened.

  • Comment number 53.

    I too had a sparrow hawk land on top of my neighbours concrete washing line post having just missed catching a spot of pigeon for his lunch. He didn't appear concerned at all that I was 6 foot away from him on my patio looking up at him with awe


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