The trees opposite my house have Rooks in them all year around. They are used as a roost during the winter by a small number of Rooks, who share the copse with the Red Kites and Jackdaws.
It is not until this time of year that I notice the large increase in Rook numbers. Courtship for Rooks begins in February and although it is thought Rooks mate for life they still court each other by strutting and bringing gifts.
In 2014 I counted 43 nests in this Rookery, judging by the number of Rooks this year there maybe more.
I wake in the morning to the sound of them chattering away on the telephone wires, they collect here in a line, in ones and twos before heading off to the fields for the day.
As the sun begins to set, the rooks start to return in groups, first gathering on the pylons.
They jostle for a place, they chatter, they bicker and generally greet each other. Each evening there seems more than the previous.
After 10 minutes or so they move to the rookery, at first settling, then rearranging themselves. All the time there is the background of chattering.
Every so often something spooks them, a gun shot, a dog barking, a passing Red kite or a group of rooks arriving late, which send them all up in to the air. The noise of the calling getting louder.
Again they settle. They preen themselves, they gossip with their neighbour, they push each other off the best branches.
As the sky gets darker, the rooks get quieter until I can only hear an occasional ‘caw’.