The sun made a welcome appearance yesterday and spurred me on to walk to the jackdaw and rook roost in the afternoon. It’s not the first time I’ve tried to watch them recently.
Twice last week I’ve tried to drive to my favourite vantage point, and twice I’ve been thwarted by flooded roads (seeing a river descending towards you down a high banked country lane, as the light is fading, doesn’t fill you will enthusiasm).
So yesterday I stuck on my new walking boots (the box promises they are waterproof), stuck my phone, audio recorder, camera and binoculars in my pocket (big pockets!) and set off.
I’ve noticed the birds gathering late every afternoon for about the last month or so. Fifty or so come circling in and land on the tall beech trees that run along the bottom of our garden, you can’t miss them.
It’s like a noisy episode of “Big fat gypsy wedding”. So I wasn’t surprised to meet small groups of them on the way to the roost. Every tall tree along my path had 5, 10 sometimes 20 dotted along its branches. Waiting.
My vantage point is at the top of a hill next to my favourite old oak tree (I always stand with my hand against its trunk if I haven’t seen it for a while – it’s like meeting an old friend). It’s on the outskirts of our parish, looking down over rolling countryside and a large wooded valley where the jackdaws and rooks roost.
And so I wait, perched on the fallen branch under the oak, waiting for the sound of birds. The sound of “cawing” and the “whoosh” of wings as they glide over the fields, following the contours and arrive at their ancient meeting place.
First a few fly in, then more and more and more. The sound gets louder and the sky darkens with their bodies.
Within half and hour, from every direction, they have arrived. Their roost is at least half a mile away from me, and yet as I make for home I can still hear their cries. I’ll be back. The spectacle and sound draws you in.