Den Cartlidge April Blog

Monday 16th April 2018

An unmistakeable honk echoes across the fields.

The honking is followed by a deep croaking noise – it sounds like a drunken belch and throaty chuckle fused together. Only one bird sounds like that. The largest member of the crow family flies in from the west. The raven circles overhead before racing off to intercept a soaring buzzard. It makes its displeasure felt with more croaks and an attempted peck of the buzzard’s tail. Ravens have a huge dagger-like beak and one more peck sends the buzzard fleeing to nearby hills. Another honk, not far away, calls the interceptor back to some old pine trees. I think there might be a nest up there.

I leave the ravens behind and start my walk. I’m walking from Thorswood to the Weaver Hills. Blue sky and mild weather makes it feel like the first day of spring.

On the hill slopes I hear the sad ‘pee-weet’ call of some Lapwings in the distance. Approaching the sparse ridge and trig point, I see a flash of white and a slim grey torso perched on a wall. It’s a male wheatear, newly arrived from Africa. Passing the trig point, a skylark flies overhead. It tumbles upwards, singing all the time – sharing a chuckling, bubbling call.

Returning to Thorswood, I hear the ravens again and watch a single bird circling the old pine trees. Is it the same raven? It looks like it, and it sounds like it too.
I give the old pine trees a wide berth and head back to my car.