Sunday 15 May 2011: Rook
This wasn't the photo I set out to take this morning when I left the house before the sun crested the Yorkshire Wold scarp and illuminated Bishop Wilton. I was trying to photograph the church spire lit at its top with the church and village in shade below. Somehow though I preferred this photo of a rook flight silhouette.
The rooks were barrelling down the chalk scarp towards the village one at a time, and I just had time to focus on this one. For me, this catches something of the essence of the rook. His naked bill and his whitish gular pouch are visible in the shot, and the wing shape is characteristic of this direct, unflapping descending flight.
Rooks aren't everyone's favourite, but then not everyone may have read the celebration of them in Mark Cocker's lyrical book Crow Country. He became besotted and obsessed with them while following their flocks in East Anglia. And I can understand his obsession for this intensely social, intelligent bird.
We are back at home after our brief visit to Yorkshire. We came back to a sad discovery. It seems that our hen blackbird, the Boss, who has featured here a couple of times, has fallen victim to Bob the Cat. The scene of the crime was gruesomely strewn around our patio. There were several hen blackbirds using the garden before, but I fear it is the Boss since she has not shown since we've been back, and she was just a bit too confiding. Naively I have been saying that Bob had retired from hunting, and it seemed he had, but while we were away, and he didn't have his usual snacks between meals, he obviously felt the need to supplement his diet. There was also the remains of a dead mouse in the house.
ps Yesterday's entry was backblipped, please take a look.