Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Curious carrion candidly cracked it

A few short years ago, magpies seemed to be solitary distant shadows that occasionally flew from branch to branch in what appeared to be the tallest of trees. Jays were spied only once every five years and that was by the very fortunate. Rooks kept their distance flocking about the rookeries. Jackdaws squawked parrot like but were spotted only a few times each year. Crows would swoop down in amongst the sparrows to steal the biggest crust thrown out onto the lawn but then only once or twice each week. Suddenly, all of these carrion seem to have 'elbowed' out their distant smaller cousins like sparrows, green finch, chaffinch the robin and the blackbird and now have the reign of the bird tables. Magpies frequent the hedgerows and gardens in small flocks. Admittedly, the flocks are usually only four or five at a time - but this is a change in their behaviour pattern. They fly down and stretch their legs across the lawn almost looking demonic when they push their beaks forward resembling distant two-legged dinosaurs. Jays flap precariously in front of the windscreens of cars on the dual carriageways and crows gaze down from lampposts, aerials, rooftops and trees making occasional swoops onto anything edible. Many of the crows in this area have the odd white feather this is usually duplicated on each wing. Some have quite a few and the first few times that I caught a glance of them I thought that I was looking at a different species, one that I had never seen before. It was only on seeing them for a second or third time that I realised that they were standard crows that somehow had acquired new white markings. Many of these carrion are still eating when other birds have retired to their nesting positions for the night. I have found that when placing food out for the hedgehogs, after dusk and just before it's too dark to trip over any random flowerpots - magpies will swoop down and gobble up everything before flying away into the night. There are mournful, distant caws and screeches where once there used to be soft hoots from the tawny owls. The carrion appear to be changing the environment, or perhaps its the other way around. post extra: day 7 after St Swithin's - I have witnessed no rain today although floods throughout the midland counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire - Yorkshire and Berkshire were also flooded badly a few days ago) are extensive with more to come according to broadcasts. Floods have exceeded the flood plain areas and towns and villages which have never suffered flooding before are now deep in water - some homes (particularly mobile homes) are completely submerged . . .

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