Thursday, 6 January 2011


During the Christmas holidays, when the snow was still on the ground, I heard the the deep, resonant call of a raven overhead.  Two of these massive birds were flying high over the snow covered valley.  I don't know what it is about the raven, but they do send a shiver of excitement down my spine. 

They really are a huge bird having a wingspan of around 4 to 5 foot and standing around 2 foot tall.  The pair I saw are said to be nesting in woods near Quenington and the Cotswolds must be on the western extremes of the raven's coverage as they are apparently not to be found in the east of England.  The call is unmistakable and always reminds me of Lady Macbeth:

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry "Hold, hold!"

Cripes!  She really wasn't WI material, was she?


  1. Love the photos, Rich. Especially the second one, which is quite unusual.

  2. Thanks. It was mighty cold - minus 9!

  3. Great photos, as always, Richard.

    Whilst I do like birds and like to attract them into the garden, I have to admit that they can also be quite scary.

    A couple of days back, we were talking and happen to be stood in our utility room, looking out over the back garden to the lane beyond. Looking up into one of the larger trees, we counted 14 pigeons sat in it's branches and all seemed to be looking down at us.

    Very spooky! We do get quite a lot of pigeons, together with the larger, rooks, crows and magpies, but I have never seen that many together before!!

    Can we just stick to the prettier, smaller varieties, please?


  4. You've been reading too much Hitchcock, Yvonne! It does strike me that if rooks recognised their collective strength we'd have something to be concerned about. They eat all the best bits of a stricken ewe in a matter of hours!

    Best Wishes


  5. What a nice thought, Richard.

    Thanks for sharing!!!