2nd May, 2022

Countless Corvids, Binoculars and a Tree Pipit

I went for a walk of roughly fifteen miles on the second day of May. It was the first opportunity I had to test out a pair of binoculars that I was kindly gifted, so I decided to dedicate a few hours to a long walk alongside the river.

I had not owned binoculars decent enough to use for birdwatching with any success prior to this, and found using this pair to make a huge difference. They are certainly a worthwhile investment, if one decides to take birdwatching up. I would provide more advice in this regard currently if I felt well-informed, but alas! I do not. Whilst using them, however, I was able to identify birds I otherwise may have struggled greatly to, and it made watching even the most familiar all the more wonderful.

As for an outline of the species I encountered (this will inevitably provide hint as to my location, but as an openly monolingual English-speaking person, there are only so many options to begin with), the following are applicable: blue tits, great tits, robins, house sparrows, chaffinches, tree pipits, pied wagtails, starlings (of course), song thrushes, blackbirds, magpies, jackdaws, rooks, hooded crows, woodpigeons, moorhens, mallards, grey herons and mute swans.

I will include photographs at the end of this post of a few animals, but what stood out the most was certainly the tree pipit, which is considered a rare visitor where I live (take from that what you will), so to come across one was lovely. I would not have noticed it if not for its singing. At the top of a very tall tree, I was unable to get even a semi-decent photograph with my phone, but the binoculars proved immensely useful here.

The plumage of this bird is beautiful, but its confident song is what I found to captivate the most. I did not get any footage at the time, but do listen to this if you so desire.

Other than this, there was one particular grey heron that I observed for a long while, with its beak turned orange following the onset of spring, standing still as a statue on the bank of the river, gazing down for food. Inevitably giving up, seeming to resign briefly to a momentary failure, it stalked slowly along the bank again with its spindly legs.

Another endearing sight was a female mallard passing by in the river with her comparatively minuscule ducklings. Also, an unidentified mouse scurrying across the path into the grass. I wonder what it was? It didn't have a bushy tail, and it was day, not night, which may eliminate possibilities.

As for what provides the most of a spectacle, one may say, I would give this role to the numerous corvids I came across. Normally, I would be an advocate for not interfering with wild birds much at all, and thus I don't often feed them. This footage, however, is indeed of some birds (primarily corvids) eating some food on a stone bridge along the river. Rarely would I condone this, and never consistently, so as to encourage birds to expect an easy food source regularly somehow.

People often feed wild birds things they ought not to, which irritates me. They are inattentive to the dietary requirements of birds. Many birds are not seed eaters (and certainly not bread and pretzel and cracker eaters), and would opt for insects, small game and other things in the wild instead. Thus, they ultimately suffer from the decisions that people make in feeding them what they do. I do not have feeders in my garden, or anything similar. I believe that the birds, most often, will fend just fine on their own without human intervention, and that it is better this way. Feeding stations can also easily spread disease if not taken close care of, notably.

A sick bird may be more attracted to bird feeders, as well, due to them being an easy source of food. Consequently, more disease may be spread. This could be a post on its own. It's something one ought to consider; I urge you to, if you haven't already.

Nonetheless, shared below are some photographs showing jackdaws, rooks, hooded crows, mallards, a magpie. Bonus dogs, also.