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This morning I've seen thousands of woodpigeons passing over my flat. Can you throw any light on this?

Sent in by Clifford Trethewey

Clifford asked: 'This morning I have never seen so many woodpigeons in flight in my life of 70 years. From 9.30 am they have been passing our flat on the edge of East Grinstead in thousands flying SE in beautiful weather. Can you throw any light on this? We have open fields around us, but it is also modestly urban.'

We have received a few similar reports of large flocks of woodpigeons being seen heading south. In fact, several flocks have recently been sighted flying over The Lodge here in Sandy.

We tend to think of woodpigeons as fairly sedentary birds but they are strong, powerful fliers. During the autumn, be it the first frosts, or shorter daylight hours, something urges them to fly south, so the ones flying over your flat on the edge of East Grinstead, were on migration.

However, there is still a great deal of mystery as to their final destination; there is little evidence to suggest that they actually leave the UK, not in large numbers anyway.

They are regularly seen over the sea but it is possible that they are just moving along the coast rather than crossing the Channel for instance. One thing we do know is that these winter movements have been much in evidence this year so perhaps this may lead eventually, to a few more clues as to their winter haunts.

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