Saturday, 21 April 2012

Watching the rook highway...

From the back of the house we have a clear view across the field. Barley is the current crop which is flourishing now we have had some rain! As I have mentioned before we live at the top of the hill. The road down to the lower part of the village winds quite sharply down a number of metres. The valley at the bottom has a copse of tall trees just before the stream passes the back of the houses. The copse houses a rookery, and the rooks are currently very busy rearing chicks. The parents are extremely diligent, and this is where the rook highway comes in.

Scene of the Rook Highway - without a rook in sight. Got to love the birds!

The parent rooks fly obliquely up the hill past the back of our house and through a gap in the trees to some place across the road and behind the farm. There must be some amazing source of food there. I guess it may be fields with cattle in them. The rooks use a two direction route - low to the ground on the way out against the prevailing wind. They look like gangs of black rags flapping only a metre or so above the barley. On the way back they fly much higher, aided of course by the wind.
The only time they deviate from this path is when a red kite is about, then they all gang up to mob the kite, even though their babies are a mile away.

The birds in the garden are also very busy. Mr Blackbird nearly met his end today. He squared up to a magpie, who then started chasing him. Mr Blackbird, you are very brave but your babies need you too!