Early morning and the Rooks were gathered in the rookery at North End. When I first looked up there were just two rooks present, sitting very close to each other. They then made a very clumsy attempt at copulating (it can't be easy when you're balancing in a treetop on a breezy day!). Almost immediately several more Rooks arrived and started making an incredible din. Whether they were offering praise, advice or mockery was hard to tell.
Rook nests may look like haphazard heaps of twigs, but these have been here for years and survived the recent gales with minimal damage, to which their occupants soon made the necessary repairs, stealing material from each other's nests; somehow it never occurs to a Rook to pick up twigs that have fallen on the ground.
Regular readers of these pages will have noticed an increase in the number of birdie-pictures on this blog since Christmas. That's because I bought myself a "bridge-camera" with an absurd 83x zoom on it (Nikon P900, for those who want to know). See that crow on the branch in the photo above - no, I thought not.
Well, here it is! Actually both pictures have been cropped a little, but you get the general idea. The quality's not that brilliant when you push everything to its limit, but at least you can see what it is.
Here's an often underrated and overlooked member of our avian family, a Dunnock. Despite their unspectacular plumage and quiet habits they are familiar to many people as they often frequent our gardens. In Spring they sing prettily, though quietly, from the hedgerows.
The bird above, pictured through my porch window, is what we in Britain call a Goldfinch. A few decades ago you only ever saw them when they were feeding on thistles in fields, but now they are everywhere: one of the few beneficiaries of human interference in nature. They have thrived since they discovered the feeders that we hang in our gardens, particularly if they contain nyjer seed (also known as niger, nyger or niger seed; noog or nugg; ramtil or ramtilla; inga seed; and blackseed).
This Green Woodpecker struck a rather inelegant pose on top of a fencepost. Unlike our other Woodpeckers (we only have two others in the UK, The Greater and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers) it spends a lot of time on the ground feeding on ants.
On a recent trip to Welney WWT reserve we found the floodwater on the Washes was so high and the wind so strong that there were few birds to be seen from the main observatory. However the café provided a warm place to scan the birds out on Lady Fen and to watch the comings and goings on the bird-feedrs.
These feeders always attract many Tree Sparrows, a far from common bird elsewhere. They can be picked out from the more familiar House Sparrows by their smart chestnut caps and black and white cheeks.
The Mute Swans at Fen Drayton Lakes are also preparing themselves for Spring. At first glance I thought this might be a male and a female, but looking closer it's probably two males having a quietly civilised face-off, perhaps a territorial dispute about a possible nest-site.
And finally, in these difficult times for many, who can resist a chirpy little Robin. Their singing, though, is not an expression of joy but a warning to other Robins to keep well away from their territory. No problems with "social distancing" when it comes to Robins! And look, there are leaves just appearing on the branch behind him!