In the previous post Chasing the light over Townsend Meadow my header photo featured my ‘stand-on-bed-while-using-open-rooflight-as-tripod’ school of photography. I now confess to using the same method to spy on my local corvids. I think the pair flitting above the field fence may be carrion crows. It’s hard to tell at this distance, but we do have a couple who come daily to forage in Townsend Meadow. It is part of their territory that includes the Linden Field across the road. Also each year they come with an offspring. They call to each other across the field. I note a strain of lament in it.
But back to spying. If, with my stand-camera-on-open-window method, I then turn the lens 45 degrees to the right I can then cover activities in the rookery in the wood beside Sytche Lane. The lane borders the field boundary, and the wood borders the lane and is an unkempt sort of place inaccessible to us ordinary Wenlock folk. Both rooks and jackdaws congregate here, and in large numbers. At dusk, and particularly in autumn, they put on breath-taking balletic performances, swooping and swirling for many minutes over the meadow. If you happen to be out there when they start (sometimes my return from the allotment coincides with the opening passes of the corvid air show) it can be exhilaratingly eerie, and especially when a cohort, several dozen strong, whisks by my shoulder. There’s a rush of air. Wheeeeesh. Then gone before you register quite what happened.
You can get a gist of this phenomenon from my short video at the end of the post.
Related: Rooks Dancing in the New Moon
Life in Colour: black/grey
The telegraph pole over our garden wall provides a handy look-out for jackdaw-kind. These, the smallest of Britain’s crow family, are renowned, like magpies, for their thieving ways and proclivities for bling. But they are companionable birds. They mate for life, and form large flocks. They also gather with rooks and starlings, joining in their aerial sundowner displays.
The common name derives from their call: tchak-tchak, but they have many other apt descriptors including ‘chimney-sweep bird’. Anyone who has ever had to remove a jackdaws’ nest in their chimney will never forget the astounding deluge of soot and sticks and bird detritus. So if you have an unguarded chimney be warned. They do like the pots to nest in; also holes in trees and nooks in castle ruins.
I’m wondering what this one is thinking about. It looks like a bird with a plan.
Bird Weekly #42 Lisa at Our Eyes Open wants to see what we’ve seen bird-wise in the past fortnight
Bright Square #13
This week Lisa at Our Eyes Open asks to see photos of birds we love. To be honest pheasants are not a favourite, though their plumage is certainly magnificent. What I love about this pheasant is that he stopped to pose by the Sweet William. It shows him off so very nicely, don’t you think. After that I wasn’t too keen on him, and reverted to grumpy gardener mode. The photo was taken near my allotment plot and I didn’t need him nibbling and pecking among my veggies.
A couple of winters ago we tried pinning fat balls to the garden fence for passing birds to peck at. Then along came this big old rook from the nearby rookery. You can see what will happen next. And it did. No sharing here.
Bird Weekly: on wire or fence Visit Lisa at Eyes Wide Open – the go-to blog for bird lovers
One of the extraordinary things that happened last March, along with advent-lockdown, was the appearance of this red-legged partridge on top of the old privy roof. Well! Never had this kind of thing happened in the garden before. In my experience partridges are rather covert birds. You’re lucky to have a fleeting glimpse if you happen to startle one along a farm-field hedgerow. This one, however, stood in full view for ages. Not only that, it began to further advertise its presence with some very loud and rasping calls. It was all rather thrilling. Who knew that partridge plumage was so very magnificent. I certainly didn’t.
Square Up #29
Bird Weekly: Lisa calls for brown feathered varieties
Life in Colour: Brown