Sunday, November 04, 2012

Simply Rooks

During the autumn and winters of the last three years I have been feeding the Rooks and Jackdaws that can be found on sheep grazed fields that surround my work office car park. This has allowed me to undertake plenty of lunch hour photography sessions when the weather has allowed. It has also been a good source of images for  my long running and intermittent 'corvid in flight' project and has been very enjoyable getting to know the ways of these 'intelligent' birds.
The general impression of a rooks is of a dull black, noisy bird that can be found in muddy farmland during the winter. They are often overlooked by photographers. Having spent many lunch hours with them I have found these corvids to be incredibly beautiful and interesting birds to photograph. For a start they are not black but have a wonderful blue and purple iridescence when the light hits them. They are also great birds to photograph in flight as they form an attractive shape with the long finger like projections of their primary feathers.
I have seen some interesting behaviour amongst the group and the character of individual birds coming through as they descend on my free hand outs. Bold birds, timid birds and displays of pecking order amongst this communal species.
As a bit of insight, a typical lunch hour session would be as follows. First task is to look out the window at the weather, ideally with some sunlight that needs to be combined with a wind from between south to west. This will determine if its a lunch time in front of the computer with a sandwich or one in the car park with the rooks. I have always fed the birds at a similar time of day which has been important as I only have 60 minutes available and need them to arrive quickly. The food is put out on top of the fence at the edge of the car park. Usually at this point there are no signs of the birds nearby with only an occasional one drifting across the fields at distance. After about 10 minutes a lone bird, which I call 'the scout' will fly over and circle above the fence and then disappear for around 5 minutes. When it returns, it brings the flock with it and there is suddenly between 20 and 50 rooks in front of me and the photography can start.
All the photos on this post are a selection of some taken during my lunches on Thursday and Friday last week. You will notice that the birds mostly are facing in the same direction as there was a brisk wind from the south-west during these days.
There is a particular reason why I have shown these photographs. Firstly the rooks were looking stunning in the light on the days and showing off their wonderful colours but also as they may well be some of the last images of my sessions with the rooks.

About 2 months ago it was decided my office would be closed and after next week I am being relocated to Northwich. I will miss the rooks, and all the other birds, such as Dippers, that have filled my lunch hours during my time in North Wales. However, I will make time to visit them occasionaly in the future during weekends and days off. Obviously moving to a new office I will be now on the look out for some new lunch time wildlife photography opportunities and it will be interesting to see what I will find.


Nancy J said...

Beautiful photos that show the feathers to perfection. I hope your new office has some nearby places for new photo opportunities, as the pics in your posts so brighten my day.!!! Cheers from Jean.

Sharon Whitley said...

Thank you so much for showing everybody the beauty of as you say an often overlooked bird - so many of our common birds are overlooked in favour of rarer and more colourful species and it's people like you who photograph them so beautifully that helps give them the attention they deserve! I hope you don't mind me asking if I could use one of these images as inspiration for a painting?

Rich Steel said...

Thanks Jean and Sharon.

On my first day into the new office there was a flock of waxwings in the car park trees, so things are looking up :).

Sharon I totally agree that too many overlook the beauty that can be found in the familiar.



anna lou secoya said...

What a Lovely Birds
i really like bird
its very nice to see
your photo captured is very cleared

for more. see and comment my blog
Wild animals


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