Ravens

moorRagged wisps of grey cloud trail down from the edge of the moor.

ravenRavens make their way across the hillside. With primaries outspread like spiky fingers, one of them quarters the open ground then plunges down amongst the grasses and rushes.

Ravens mate for life and often stay together as a pair throughout the year so, as Bertel Bruun suggests in the Hamlyn bird guide: “two dots moving along a ridges are often Ravens.”

We get a chance to compare them when a small group of carrion crows fly up the valley and settle in a tree. They seem altogether more lightweight with a less powerful way of flying. Barbara’s instant reaction when the raven appeared over the ridge was that it was a buzzard (although she’s still not convinced that we really did see a pair of ravens, and not a pair of crows!).

Captive raven at Knaresborough Castle drawn earlier this year.
Captive raven at Knaresborough Castle drawn earlier this year.

crowflyRooks and jackdaws which are congregating on the rough pasture below Nethergill Farm along with a flock of starlings, are generally more sociable than either carrion crows or ravens. I’d describe crows as cawing more raucously and harshly than rooks.

The pair of ravens fly over the valley and we briefly hear them vocalizing. To us it sounds like a rather nasal grunt but Bruun characterizes the call as a deep, resonant ‘pruuk’. They also have a ‘krra-krra-krra’ alarm call and, in the spring, a range of clucking noises.

We need to see ravens more often to get familiar with the character of the bird.

Kestrels

kestrelsKestrels are doing well in this stretch of Langstrothdale. We’ve seen them almost every time that we’ve been out. This morning two fly down the slope, the first with some scrap in its talons. The second dives down on it as they fly over the stream but the first retains its prize and settles in a tree.

Nethergill sheep enjoying a scratch against the picnic table in front of the field centre.
Nethergill sheep enjoying a scratch against the picnic table in front of the field centre.

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