Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Buckingham Rooks

Went out to watch the massing evening rooks at Buckingham. Parked on the Carrs Rd to try to get a long exposure photograph of the roosting birds, looking West towards the lighter sky, but sat in the growing darkness with my youngest son with no rooks in sight, or any to be heard.

Close to 6pm and after a while I decided that we had missed the evening spectacle, slightly out of kilter now as we can only visit during school holidays. Drove along towards the station turning towards the old WW2 pill box and became aware of huge black lines of rooks sitting still and ready in the ploughed fields on the right. Suddenly they were all lifting into the sky, as if possibly triggered by my headlights and intrusion, and the massed cawing and sweeping spectacle of huge numbers of birds filled the almost dark sky around us. Driving down to the old manned railway crossing, the scene of many childhood walks and eel fishing adventures and with my son pointing out of the open windows, we passed two walkers staring upward into the feathered maelstrom as everyone does, slightly awed by this daily event. Parked as the birds above drifted on-masse towards the woods, the Carrs themselves homing between 30 and 60,000 birds (*according to authority Mark Cocker in his Guardian newspaper natural history column). Then onto the empty rail platform to assemble my tripod hastily and to take a couple of 30 second exposure photographs of the tree-line to the East, whilst keeping an eye on my 5 year old assistant. The rooks were all roosting in the closing darkness, pouring fluidly into the branches and, as evidenced by the above photograph, the spectacle is completely absent from my image as the movement of the birds themselves removes them from the long exposure. Almost completely dark as we walked back to the van, the rich conversation of cawing rooks still emanating from the now still woods.

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