Town Raven

Town Raven
In flight


This is a diary, or rather, field notes written up each day, with the latest entry at the top.

To get the full story, start at the bottom entry in the archive, and read upwards.
Then read the current diary entries from the bottom up as well.

Once you've got the full story, just visit and read the new story for the day!


Location Map

Location Map
This shows where we walk and meet the ravens
The yellow and pink squiggly lines are two walks we take. The yellow one is the one we usually do. The squigglyness indicates how Madame visits her several important sniffing check-points!
We stop several times to feed the ravens, and you can see where they come from.

If you right-click on the image and open it in a new tab, you can then zoom in to see more details.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

March 31st

Winter clothes were definitely needed this morning - it was perishing, with a gale blowing straight from the ice cap.
We left the house at 7.10 a.m., it was dark because of the racing clouds. 
And did I say it was cold? It was - as cold as in the depths of the deepest winter!

There were no raven calls, and we did not spy any sitting in the still bare treetops.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

March 30th

It was mild this morning, but grey, slightly damp, and there was no sun. Because of the rain yesterday, the ground was very muddy. We left the house at 7.20 a.m. - which, for the ravens, was again 6.20 a.m., seeing that they don't use our clocks!

So it did not surprise me that we didn't hear any raven calls, nor did we notice any ravens in any of the tree tops.
We walked up to the enclosure in the big field, but the quarry pair did not appear.
Then we walked on, into the ravens field - no ravens until we were right at the enclosure. Then the young pair appeared, sitting on the fence posts.

Monday, 29 March 2010

March 29th

It started raining during the night, so the morning was colder than in the last few days, and yes, it rained!
We left the house at 7 a.m. BST (British Summer Time), which two days ago was still 6 a.m.

No raven calls, and no ravens as we walked along the quarry side and to the small arboretum. I did throw a few scraps into the enclosure in the ravens field, but no raven appeared. They must have still been asleep, and with the dark rain clouds it was not a day to be out and about.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

March 28th - Palm Sunday

It was dry and reasonably mild this morning, the sun was up, but still watery and feeble, and we'd not heard any raven calls.

We left the house at 7.25 a.m. - but that is Summer Time: the clocks went forward today, so it actually was 6.25 a.m. according to yesterday's clock.

We had a long walk, firstly all the way round the quarry field and then the small arboretum, so that Miss Bonnie got some exercise, seeing that I cannot let her off her lead yet. 

This astonished the ravens, since we came to the enclosure in the ravens field from the far side, where the allotments are. But first one, then the other of the young pair did come flying in, sitting on the fence posts, then going into the enclosure to pick up some scraps. 

Saturday, 27 March 2010

March 27th

Honestly - I was up by 5.30 a.m. - but when did I leave the house?
At 6.50 a.m.! 
It is well-known that the more time one thinks one's got, the later one arrives where one needs to be!

It was again mild and dry, with watery sunshine. No raven calls when I got to the big field - but as I reached the middle, the quarry pair turned up. It seemed to me they were keen to get some food before the other lot arrived, and they did not call.

However,  I could see one of the young pair sitting on the top branch in a tree in the spinney - he was observing, and came down when I walked up to the enclosure. Then his companion arrived as well.

Friday, 26 March 2010

March 26th

Unfortunately, I only managed to leave the house at 6.55 a.m. ... in spite of a hint of a watery sun behind thin, grey clouds.
It was mild, with a touch of damp. 
Again, there were no raven calls when I entered Llandaff Fields.

Today, the quarry pair came flying in as I approached the enclosure in the big field. They started picking up the scraps, with their usual skittishness, and while they were doing so, I noticed two ravens, sitting on the top branch in two trees in the spinney, observing what whas happening, but not calling.

It took a few minutes before they came flying to the ground - it was the young pair.
Both pairs did not seem to want to hang about much today - in spite of Llandaff Fields being practically empty of dogs. So I got rid of the scraps pretty fast - they did eat them all - and went back home.

We'll see if I can manage an earlier start tomorrow ...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

March 25th

Today, I managed to make it out of the house at 6.40 a.m. So it wasn't that much earlier - but as it was again a grey morning, slightly damp, mild, but without sun, that wasn't too bad, considering ...

There had been no calls, nor were there any as I got into the big field. Even at the top, past the enclosure, there were no calls, nor a raven to be seen.

Meanwhile, even the last handful of blackheaded seagulls have left and gone to their breeding grounds, so there were no huge flocks to scare the ravens off. The dog population also was exceedingly reduced this morning - just Jess, a young Border Collie, having a romp.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

March 24th

This morning was still quite grey, with no sun and a very fine drizzle, but it was not foggy.
I left the house at 6.50 a.m., and found Llandaff Fields empty of dogs and ravens - except for Cally, who was just coming back from her walk.
The ground was quite muddy underfoot, thanks to the long bursts of rain we had yesterday. But it felt mild, compared to the previous days, weeks, and months ...!

I trudged up the big field, to the enclosure there, not expecting anything since there were no raven calls. 
Suddenly - a swoosh of wings, and the bold raven had come from the toddlers' playground, landing about four feet away from me. If he'd been human, he'd have said 'where's my food?'! His companion came a few minutes later, after I had thrown him scraps.

It was a bit unexpected, because today is again the weekly collection of food waste, but there had been no open bags in the street, so the ravens must have felt my scraps were better than nothing.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

March 23rd

No rain as yet, this morning - but quite dense fog. And it was still cold, sufficiently so that I was still wearing gloves.
The bird songs early in the morning were much quieter, and there were no raven calls.

I left the house at 7.50 a.m., and as I got to the first field, there were ravens calling from behind my back - from the road. No more raven calls, however, once I got to the top of the big field, and not one raven was to be seen. I did throw some scraps into the enclosure in the big field, but no raven turned up.

Then, into the ravens field, I saw one lone raven poking the ground inside the enclosure there. I walked up, but the raven did not show any interest. I walked round the enclosure, throwing scraps, and the raven - I assume he was one of the young pair - kept his distance from me but did walk to pick up one or two of those scraps.

Monday, 22 March 2010

March 22nd

It is still quite chilly here, so I still needed my gloves when I left the house today at 6.45 a.m. 
It was the Spring Equinox yesterday, so the sun had already well risen - at 6.09 a.m., actually.

There were no ravens to be seen or heard as I walked up the big field to its top. I threw a few scraps into the enclosure there, but none came.

However, as I got to the spinney, one raven came swooping towards me, settling on a tree: one of the young pair. He came to the ground when I threw a couple of scraps, then his companion also came.

I walked on, to the enclosure, and they both flew past me, quite low and close, to get into the enclosure before me. There, they got a few more scraps as I walked round.

Sunday, March 21st

Tired, but woke up at the usual time - for Sunday, that is ...
It was cold, but dry and sunny. I went out about 7.10 a.m.
No ravens at all, at first - not surprising, since I was absent for a whole week.

At first, I threw some scraps into the enclosure at the big field - no ravens appeared.

Then, I walked towards the spinney, and one came flying to sit on a small tree, about five feet away. He followed me onto the ground as I walked on, throwing a few more scraps. There he was joined by his companion. It was the young pair, their behaviour, especially when I walked round the enclosure in the ravens field, made that very obvious. (See earlier notes about their behaviour, below).

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

March 15th/16th

For the next few days I won't be able to write about the ravens, due to some previous committments.

I'll be back writing here a.s.a.p., that is, in a few days, so don't worry!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sunday, March 14th

It was again a cold, dry morning, with frost on the grass. There was another gentle sunrise, and the robins and blackbirds had sung their hearts out for an hour already. The great tits take over once the sun is up. 
There had been no raven calls, though.

I left the house at 6.45 and found Llandaff Fields empty of dogs and their walkers, until I got right to the middle of the big field. Then Otis turned up, full of bounce, very playful.
Up until then, there had not been one raven, either heard or seen. 

When Otis and his owner had walked off, I started to throw scraps into the enclosure - it was very odd, not having one raven around. There were no seagulls circling overhead, nor any other birds. The sky was as clear as can be - not even a cloud to be seen.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

March 13th

Another icy night, another cold start to the morning. The clear skies which gave us this cold weather started to collect clouds around dawn. The songbirds were singing nevertheless, and there were some raven calls at this early time.

I left the house at 6.45 a.m., the sunrise was again a bit subdued because of the clouds, and the wind from the NW was a bit icy! There were no raven calls when I got to Llandaff Fields - but there was Alison coming back with Jack-the-Westie. So we had a long chat - still no ravens. Then, into the big field ten minutes later, Bas was on his way home. So we had a chat as well - still no ravens!

When I finally got to the top of the big field, I saw one lone raven sit in a treetop at the toddlers' playground. He didn't call. As I observed him, and tried to see if the other ravens might be in the spinney, I heard a swoosh: the quarry pair had flown in, and were sitting on the fence posts of the enclosure. 

Friday, 12 March 2010

March 12th

This morning was cold again - more because of the icy wind from the North West than because of the temperature. It also was damp, with the sunrise hidden behind patches of thick grey clouds.
The robins and blackbirds had been singing for an hour before dawn, with the great tits chiming in at sunrise.
There were no raven calls at that time.

I left the house at 6.45 a.m., and heard raven calls coming from behind my back. Then I saw two ravens fly high overhead, overtaking me and flying towards Pontcanna Fields.
No ravens called while I walked up the big field to the top and the enclosure there.

The black-headed seagulls were on the ground in a big flock - but they seemed to be dozing and didn't fly up until Otty came bouncing up and chasing them. He's a chocolate Labradoodle, young and exuberant, and the seagulls flew off when he came along, circling overhead and then flying to settle in the quarry field.

Not one raven appeared when I stood at the enclosure, nor did they come when I threw some scraps into it.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

March 11th

Today I left the house at 6.45 a.m.  ...! That's a bit better, but needs more work still.

After a clear night it was again a cold morning, with ground frost but no wind. The sunrise was soft and undramatic - it is lovely to see the same rose-grey both in the East and the West. 
The songbirds had been singing for a good hour ebfore I left the house, and there had been one soft, sleepy raven call as well.

Getting into the big field I saw one raven on the ground, pecking at some food bag. I didn't recognise that raven, and he took no notice of me. 

I saw no other raven, and there were no calls until I reached the top of the big field. Then, the quarry pair called. They had meanwhile swooped onto the top of the rugby goal posts and were watching. On their call, the bold pair answered from the ravens field, then another call came from the toddlers' playground.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

March 10th

Well - I still didn't manage to leave the house earlier than 6.50 a.m.! Too much to do ...
The songbirds did sing again before dawn, the sunrise was partially hidden behind clouds - but it felt much milder than on the previous days.

As I entered Llandaff Fields, the first raven calls came from the direction of Pontcanna Fields. Then, getting to the middle of the big field, I saw two ravens sitting in different trees near the toddlers' playground, watching. Then, I noticed on raven in one of the horse chestnuts along that avenue. And then there were two ravens in two treetops at the spinney.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

March 9th:

It was much milder today, simply because there was no wind to speak of. The sunrise was again soft and pastel-coloured. Robins and blackbirds had started singing well before dawn, and before I left the house at 6.50 a.m., the great tits had taken over. No raven calls, though.

Again, no calls and no ravens as I got into Llandaff Fields, but the quarry pair started calling as soon as I was half-way up to the top of the big field. They then came flying in, sitting on top of the rugby goal posts, watching, from where they overtook me to fly to sit on the fence posts of the enclosure in the big field.
So they do know me - but why are they still so skittish when I feed them? They always wait to pick up the scraps until I have turned my back to them.

The next pair to come in, from the ravens field, was the bold pair - and then there were calls coming from the toddlers' playground, and the young pair flew in.
Everything went on as usual now - but with no seagulls flying overhead, nor with crows trying to butt in.
This tells me that an early start is important: it is indeed the quality of daylight which determines what the ravens do, and what the other birds do.

While there was still a lot to do in the house this morning, making me late, and while there is still more to finish off today, I hope I can indeed manage an earlier start tomorrow. 
Fingers crossed ...

March 8th:

Another icy morning! This time there also was some arctic wind - not nice. But the sunrise was lovely, with the pastel colours of dawn, then the sun slowly appearing over the rooftops.

I left the house at 6.55 a.m. (too tired to get out earlier). No raven calls as I got into Llandaff Fields, but the ravens started calling as soon as I was in the middle of the big field. Their calls came from the boundaries. The young pair appeared first, from the toddlers' playground, then the quarry pair. The bold pair came last, from the ravens field.

I waited with the feeding until a lone seagull had stopped circling over us and flown off. Then we had the usual routine, and as it was so cold, the ravens really tucked in. No scuffles - and no calls, but the companion of the bold raven did the begging display. 

Having all three pairs together at the same time allows their different feeding behaviour to be nicely differentiated: 

Sunday, March 7th

Another icy night, with clear skies, so this morning there was another nice sunrise. Again there was frost on the ground. Although the robins and blackbirds did sing before dawn, the ravens did not call.

Once I got into Llandaff Fields, having left the house at 6.55 a.m. (yeah, I know - later than I aimed for ...), there were raven calls coming from all the boundaries. None was visible in the treetops, however, and none turned up until I had reached the top of the big field, standing at the enclosure for a minute or so.
On the way there, I counted fifty black-headed seagulls sitting (literally!) on the ground - a few were standing, as if to keep watch, the rest seemed to be sleeping. They flew off when I walked past, a good twenty feet away. Only after they had gone - by which time I stood at the enclosure - did the ravens turn up.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

March 6th


A clear sky overnight meant there was again frost on the ground, but the wind had died down, so it did feel really mild.
The sunrise was a bit watery, but the dawn was magnificent, with soft colours. The robins and blackbirds sang loudly about an hour before sunrise - and there were some soft raven calls coming from Pontcanna Fields.

I left the house at 6.35 a.m.. The streetlights were just switching off, nobody in the park except me and the ravens. 
Some calls came from the quarry side as I got into the big field, and when I reached the top, calls came from the ravens field as well.

Friday, 5 March 2010

March 5th

It was indeed even colder this morning! The ground was frozen and there was frost on the grass, but the perishing wind had died down somewhat.
It was a slightly subdued sunrise when I left the house at 6.55 a.m., and in the hour before dawn the robins and blackbirds were subdued as well. The ravens did not call either.

There were no calls when I got to the big field, but I saw one raven sit in a treetop in the spinney, another was sitting in a treetop at the toddlers' playground, both were watching. 

Thursday, 4 March 2010

March 4th

It was as cold and grey as yesterday - with the wind coming from the North West, for a change. There was a hint of watery sun when I left the house at 7.05 a.m. I had not heard any raven calls earlier, although the robins did sing before dawn.

There were no raven calls when I got to the big field, nor were there any ravens. I checked the treetops - not a raven in sight.
To make up for it, Bas was rushing around, chasing the seagulls, investigating other dogs and again enjoying himself. 

Karen and I did wait for a bit at the enclosure in the big field while Bas was otherwise engaged - but no calls, no ravens ... and we know they don't mind too much having Bas around. 
I observed a couple of ravens flying high across the big field towards Pontcanna Field, therefore I assumed the ravens had found a good food source there.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

March 3rd

What a change to yesterday! 
Today was grey and grim, the sun hidden behind thick clouds. The robins and blackbirds did sing about an hour before dawn, which is shortly before 7 a.m., but the ravens did not call.

I left the house at 7.05 a.m., and as I got into the first field, the biting, icy wind from the East was horribly noticeable.

There were no raven calls at first, but when I arrived at the top of the big field, I heard cawing behind my back: the quarry pair came flying in to the ground. Then more cawing came from the direction of the toddlers' playground - the young pair arrived. Lastly, just as I was starting to throw the frist scraps, the bold pair flew in from the ravens field, also cawing. 
A flock of seagulls were on the ground next to the footpath, but the ravens were not bothered.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

March 2nd

Another icy but dry and sunny morning.
I left the house just a couple of minutes before 7 a.m., having heard what can now really be called the 'dawn chorus' about 45 minutes earlier. No raven calls, though ...

Again, though, ravens called as I entered the first field, and I could make out one raven swooping across from Pontcanna Fields to one of the trees at the toddlers' playground. Just as yesterday, this raven, followed a bit later by his companion, flew to the ground at the top of the big field: one of the young pair. Today, they did not caw to me.

Then the bold pair arrived from the ravens field, just as I was starting to throw the scraps. I am now assuming they watch to see if food is forthcoming before they venture to the ground. Only the companion of the bold raven cawed - and only after he'd left with his first haul of scraps.

Monday, 1 March 2010

March 1st - St David's Day

The storm which looked to hit our coasts, took another course and ravaged France and Germany, so we had just a bit of wind yesterday, not bad, and a quiet night. 
That meant a clear sky, frost on the grass, and temperatures around freezing. The robins and blackbirds were singing already by 5 a.m., but the ravens were not calling yet.

I left the house at 7 a.m., to a glorious sunrise: golden sky in the East, pale pink sky in the West, and later the sun rising and rising over the rooftops. The raven calls I heard as I got into the frist field were soft, sparse, and coming from the boundaries.

As I got to the top of the big field, I saw two ravens sitting in the treetop of a tree in the spinney. Then I heard calls coming from Pontcanna Fields. They were quite loud, and one raven came swooping in from that direction, over the toddlers' playground, landing in the big field. Meanwhile, the two ravens from the spinney had also come down to the ground. These were the young pair, and as the single raven approached, I saw that this was my bold one. He was quickly followed by his companion.

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