Rooks in Badger Wood

The rooks have stopped coming to my garden birdfeeders at 5am. There was a gradual reduction in numbers while the fields surrounding the village were being harvested. Now they all go straight to the fields in the morning. They’ve also changed their roosting site. While I was badger watching last week, the rooks came in to Badger Wood to roost. If past form is anything to go by, they’ll continue to roost there until the spring.

Badger cubs play under the trees, while rooks come in to roost.

It had been meticulously planned, like a military operation. I would drive to the Rutland Birdfair on Friday, attend talks by Matthew Gordon (Earthflight), Simon King, Bill Oddie and Patrick Barkham (Badgerlands). I’d meet the staff on the BBC Wildlife Magazine stand and visit a few others, before going to Derby to spend the night with my brother. I’d return home to Yorkshire on Saturday morning. What actually happened was that I became ill on Thursday, visited the doctor on Friday and spent most of Saturday asleep on the sofa at home. Oh dear.

Cutting birch seedlings

On Sunday, I was just well enough to get to a conservation work day I was supposed to be leading, in the privately owned area of heathland that I worked on in the spring. We’d stopped our work days there for the summer months, to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds. I was worried that there might be a big turnout and I’d be short of tools, but in fact there were only four volunteers, so it was a nice relaxed sort of day. We were cutting birch regrowth which, if not dealt with, would turn the heathland into birch woodland within a few years. It was a windy day, which helped keep the mosquitoes away. Buzzards were mewing overhead when we arrived and one of the volunteers saw a large lizard.

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