A very early start.
The bird-song was amazing. I know that proper birders probably get up to catch the dawn chorus regularly, but this was an unusual experience for me. As I walked across the fields and the foreground sounds diminished, I could hear a surround sound concert of singing from every garden and copse – 360 degrees of song.
Under a ragged edge of black sky a solitary star stood out against the pale eggshell sky, presumably Venus.
I passed through Lambert’s meadow – which was very wet – and Burton Well Wood. Coming out of the wood I saw three black birds sitting high in a tree. They were large and their call was a craw (so not jackdaws?), there were three of them (so not crows?). Rooks then?
I’ve just finished reading Crow Country by Mark Cocker, and have very much enjoyed it. Despite the name, the book really concerns Cocker’s Rook monomania. It’s fascinating, but I realised as I read it that although I’m frequently aware of a substantial flock of jackdaws flying over the garden and can see a pair of crows nesting in an oak in the field behind the house, I’m not so often conscious of seeing rooks. There must be rooks, I thought, this is the ideal environment, but where is the nearest rookery? At this time of year looking for rooks nesting used to be a childhood sport for me since the height of the nests was an indicator of the pattern of weather for the summer. (Although I’m not sure that I ever really believed that.)
As I walked towards Stankelt Lane more black shapes swept overhead and then there in Pointer Wood, high in the tree tops was a group of about twenty-five rooks.
Heading homeward on the path that hugs the edge of the field, the views of the distant Howgill fells and of the eastern sky was magnificent. Oh for a longer lens camera…