Burnt flint

Burnt flint

Local archaeologist David Jacques discovered this burnt flint whilst rooting close to the woodpecker chippings in Robert Young’s garden on Sunday, 17 April 2011. Burnt flints have been found all over the area including Soham and Cambourne. Such finds provide evidence of human occupation from the late Neolithic through to the Bronze-Age. It is believed that the flint was put into the fire overnight and used to heat water in the morning.

See also Brian Burningham, A guide to the identification of man-made flint and tool types, (PDF)

Woodpecker wood chips

This picture shows woodpecker chippings around the base of a tree in Robert Young’s garden.

The male woodpecker (Picadae) makes a hole for nesting during April. Three species breed in Britain: the great spotted woodpecker, the green woodpecker and the lesser spotted woodpecker. Once the hole is finished, the woodpecker faces competition for it from other hole nesting birds. What comes out of a wood pecker hole may not actually be a woodpecker. Like cuckoos, parrots and some owls, woodpeckers have zygodactyl feet—two toes facing forwards and two toes facing backwards—helping the woodpecker climb trees vertically.

Update 25 April 2011: Bob tells us that he has seen the bird. It is a great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major). We said earlier that it may not be a woodpecker that emerges from his hole. Indeed. Bob saw a squirrel, probably the introduced gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), emerge from the woodpecker hole today.