Five Corvids

Remiss of me not to have posted here for quite some time ! I am moved to do so today following the notable and rare occurrence of recording five British members of the crow family on our about the farm today.

First up the big daddy of the family the Raven. Once only a very rare sighting here they are now very regular visitors if not quite every day birds. A magnificent species to have around !

Next up a species that really is recorded just about each and every day at Willowbog , the Carrion crow. Not everyone’s favourite but having its own place in the overall scheme of things despite probably playing a part in the notable absence now of ground nesters like Lapwing and Curlew !!

We only seem to record Jackdaws on their spring and autumn movements which is a shame as they are a personal favourite in the family .  It is that wonderful call that typically draws ones attention to them as they pass over , often quite high up, in small parties . Always reminds me of a childhood bird haunt in Surrey, the ruins of Waverley Abbey, where the Jackdaws nested in a colony as they often do.

The familiar black and white of the Magpie has only quite recently become a regular sight for us at Willowbog. Once just about never seen they are everyday records for our bird list and almost certainly nested on our land this year for the first time . I love to see them !!

Falling into the same category as the previous are the Jays that also probably nested with us this year . Another bird that was only rarely seen here they are also on the daily list in the diary most time. Arguably the most beautiful of the family and like the magpie are a delight to have around !

The day as a whole has been good for early September with about 25 different birds for the day , weather has been good as well !

It doesn’t have to have a hooked beak to be a predator !

Just witnessed my second observation of a Magpie catching, killing and eating a Siskin.

The first time about a year ago , the Magpie, having spotted what was in all probability a young Siskin in a low growing bush, quickly flew round and round the bush, presumably confusing and panicking the little bird, then dived in and caught it. It took it off to perch on a fence where it plucked and ate the unfortunate victim. This morning I did not see the Siskin caught but did see the same consequence for the finch. We have quite a few fledgling Siskin being fed by parents in and around the garden. Another example of the reality of nature !!

Corvids

20 different species of birds today on or around the farm, so not bad for a January day. Interesting to record 4 members of the Corvid family !

I mentioned Jays the other day , which we saw today also , but we now see Magpies just about every day, whereas they used to be a species seen here only rarely, the change brought about by the same reason, ie. improved habitat, that I talked about in relation to the change in the Jay status for us. The third member of the crow family seen today is Carrion crow which has always featured regularly on our daily lists. The fourth Corvid seen today is an altogether more impressive bird !

Ravens have been becoming steadily more commonly seen in this area for about the last 3 years, it is a pretty much nation wide phenomenon which is likely to be down to reduced persecution of this magnificent bird. I am fairly sure that a pair bred not far from Willowbog last year.  If we were a little further into the spring I might easily have noted 5 members of the family, adding jackdaw to the list. For some reason we hardly ever observe Jackdaws at ground or tree level on the farm but in the spring we regularly record an overhead movement of the species. Usually my attention is drawn  to the generally small flocks as they pass over by the very distinctive call and it is one of my favourite bird sounds.