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.

Monday, 31 May 2010

May 31st

It was a lovely morning, with bright sunshine and a blue sky, with a few white clouds, when we went out at 6.50 a.m.

As it is a Bank Holiday today, most dog walkers were still resting, or had gone away for the long weekend. So Llandaff Fields was 'empty'. We did not hear any raven calls until we came to the ravens field. 

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday, May 30th

It was sunny and dry this morning, still cool though, and we went to Pontcanna Fields so that Miss Sophie got the opportunity and training to be away from me (still on the 15-yard lead) but come back when I call. and I need to practice to step on the lead when necessary, so that I can let her roam with the lead trailing.

Half-way along we met Buffy and Molly, with Hilary. Miss Sophie is fine with them now, and we all walked together for the rest of the walk. 

I've been told that poor Bas had been attacked by a huge Labrador. He's ok, but he'd been pinned to the ground, on his back. The woman owner of that lab was miles away ... that is why I'm so pernickety about having Miss Sophie come back on command, no matter what. I don't want her to get into fights, or start them, God forbid.

No ravens came while we were walking around Pontcanna Fields, though I did see a couple on the ground, in the vicinity of the nest.

May 29th

It was raining - real rain, not just drizzle - when we left the house at 6.50 a.m. There was also a cold NW wind, so it was no surprise that Llandaff Fields was not very populated.

We went the usual way to the ravens field. There had been no raven calls, and the first raven appeared only as we got half-way to the middle of the wall next to the allotments. 
We had heard a soft croaking, and I tried to see where that raven was sitting. I couldn't make out which tree the croaking had come from - and then I saw him, sitting on the wall!

Friday, 28 May 2010

March 28th

Today we went to Pontcanna Fields in the morning, because I want Miss Sophie to get used to a vast open space, do what she wants while still on the long (15 yards) training lead - and coming back when I call.

It was dry and the sun was brightly shining from a clear blue sky as we left the house at 6.50 a.m. The wind was not noticeable this early in the morning, so it didn't feel quite as cold as yesterday.

Miss Sophie is doing well, and everybody remarks on how much more relaxed she is now, comapred to even three weeks ago. She greets both a new dog and old dog acquaintances quite nicely. Also, she is now fine walking along those dogs, and she even is fine when I pet those dogs. 

March 27th

We left the house at 6.50 a.m. It was dry, the sun was shining - but there was a strong wind from the NW, and it was perishingly cold yet again.
Even in the reasonably sheltered ravens field it felt like January.

Going, or rather rushing, through our usual tour around Llandaff Fields, we arrived in the ravens field. In spite of  quite a number of dogs doing their doggie things, the ravens did pick us up.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

May 26th

The strong wind from the NW made it feel rather cold early this morning. We left the house at 6.55 a.m. - only hints of sunshine, and no raven calls.

Since there were already park dept. workers in Llandaff Fields, we turned to Pontcanna Fields for the morning walk. Unfortunately, this is where the NW winds has a big 'fetch', i.e. blows unimpeded, and we shivered ...!

No ravens came, but we met Marianne and Billy, who can carry two tennis balls in his mouth! He and Miss Sophie were not interested in each other, so both enjoyed their various sniffs and wriggles-on-the-back (Miss Sophie!).

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

May 25th

It was certainly cooler this morning! 
The wind from the NW had picked up and was quite fresh. The sun was a bit obscured by a watery haze. But it was still dry and sunny.

We left the house at the usual time of 6.40 a.m., and went the usual way: first the big field, then the quarry field. 
There, Karen and Bas came towards us from the small arboretum, so we went back down the Horse Chestnut Avenue with the two of them. 

Back again, and with a bit of Bart and his owner into the ravens filed, where there were quite a lot of dogs, with their owners standing in the middle, having a nice chat.

Monday, 24 May 2010

May 24th

Another hot and muggy night - another hot morning. Hot for South Wales, that is ...

We left the house at 6.40 a.m., to a bright an hot sun and a blue sky with no clouds.

No raven calls, and no ravens in the first and then the big field - but as we got to the ravens field, a soft quorking came from one of the huge sycamores next to the footpath separating the big field from the ravens field.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunday, May 23rd

Warm morning, even at 6.45 a.m., when we left the house. 
The sun was blazing down from a clear blue sky, and the dew on the grass had already been burned off.

We went to the ravens field, walking round - one raven came. It was one of the young pair, quite skittish, but she got her scraps, always picking them up after we had turned our backs.
She didn't call, and no other raven came.

On the way back we met Ralph, at the top of the big field. He is a seven-week-old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy - adorable! Miss Sophie was very good. They sniffed each other, and she let that puppy jump around her without getting agitated. Quite the 'adult', was Miss Sophie! She did tell him off rather fiercely when she had enough - but that was after we' walked down the big field together.

As I type - a fly has managed to get into the house, and Miss sophie is trying to catch it. Shades of Big Dog ...

Too hot to go out in the afternoon ...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

May 22nd

It was too hot for Miss Sophie and me to go to the ravens field - we had a very early (6.45 a.m.) and very long walk around the whole of Pontcanna Fields. Not one raven to be seen.

The afternoon we walked in the shade of a Lime Tree avenue, along Pontcanna Fields because it was even hotter - again, no ravens: too many people out enjoying the spell of dry, hot weather.

I'm sure all the barbecues will provide lots of scraps for the ravens ...

Friday, 21 May 2010

May 21st

A beautiful, warm morning: sunshine and a few little clouds. Good-bye gloves, good-bye winter clothes until the appropriate season!

We left the house at 6.45 a.m. and took a leisurely stroll down the big field, interspersed with a bit of training.

In the ravens field, the bold raven's companion picked us up and followed us, taking her couple of scraps, flying off and coming back. Miss Sophie totally disregards her. 

Thursday, 20 May 2010

May 20th

We left the house at 6.35 a.m. It wasn't sunny, but mild, dry and still. We had heard some raven calls, but didn't see any in the big field. 

Into the ravens field, and no ravens came as we walked towards the far end and the fence to the allotments. 
Miss Sophie got some more training - and as we neared the wall to the allotments, one single raven did turn up.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

May 19th

Well, it wasn't proper, full-on rain - it was just a nice, soft drizzle this morning when we left the house at 6.50 a.m.

There had been no raven calls, and again we saw the first raven when we got into the ravens field. It was the companion of the bold raven, acting not very bold. 

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

May 18th

It was still a bit chilly, but the sun was out and there was hardly a whisper of cold wind when we left the house at 6.50 a.m. So - no gloves!

We walked to the top of the big field, inspecting the mound of sand, grass seed and fertilizer. 
No ravens there - but as soon as we got into the ravens field, the companion of the bold raven picked us up. She got her scraps and followed us half-way round. One of the young pair had joined her for the first part, but flew off as we walked on.

Monday, 17 May 2010

May 17th

A cold morning - still gloves-time! - but sunny and dry.
We left the house at 6.40 a.m. and went across Llandaff Fields the usual way. 
There were no ravens at the start, but once we got into the ravens field, the bold raven's companion joined us. She picked up the scraps, and went to hide them after having got two in her gullet.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sunday, May 16th

Well, back to normal then - weatherwise, that is ...!

It was grey and cold, no sun - and the drizzle turned to light rain while we were out.

Today, we went along the usual route to the big field and the ravens field, having left the house at 7.10 a.m. 

On the way, we noticed that yesterday's picnicers had left huge amounts of waste in the bins, so ravens and seagulls had a feast today. As we walked on I heard a scream behind me:

Saturday, 15 May 2010

May 15th

Today, for a change, we had a lovely early morning. The sun was out, there was no need for gloves, and I was able to shed one layer of warm clothes!

We left the house at 7 a.m. and went to Pontcanna Fields, re-tracing the route Miss Sophie took when she escaped ten days ago.
There were lots of crows around, but although we heard a few raven calls, we didn't see one until we started on our way back. 

Then we noticed one on the ground - I had seen him before, he has lost one of his tail feathers.

Friday, 14 May 2010

May 14th

Another cold and grey day. There was a slight drizzle. The wind had turned to the SW, so it didn't feel quite a perishing as the days before. 

We left the house an hour later than usual, me not being up to scratch, and took the same walk as yesterday morning. Miss Sophie needs the experience and training very much.
So again, no ravens in the morning.

Later, in the afternoon, we went across the big field to the ravens field. It was still cold, and then it started to rain ...

May 13th

Still too cold for this time of year - max day time temp at 55 F -, and gloves were still needed. 

Today, I totally changed our walk because Miss Sophie needs to be exposed to different areas, and she needs to learn to come when I call her, even if she is fixating on a squirrel.
So - no ravens in the morning.

In the afternoon we went to Llandaff Fields, following our usual tour. At the top end of the quarry field, the second bold raven picked us up. This is the one who looks as if he/she is peering out from underneath a fringe. She is bold as well, following us closely as we crossed into the ravens field. 

There, she took off and did a low sweep of the whole field, chasing away a handful of jackdaws. She kept close to us, just like her bold companion. 

I'd run out of scraps by the time we got to the spinney. She had flown into the big lime tree, watching us. Then she swooped down, landing next to the sheds, even though she knows this was the 'no more food' way.

We'll see which one of them will turn up the next time.

May 12th

It was even colder - some frost on the grass, no sunshine, and still a cold wind from the NE.

We left the house at 6.45 a.m., and as we made our usual way to the ravens field, we got 'waylaid' by other dog walkers. I wanted Miss Sophie to meet and socialise. Thus we ran out of time to feed the ravens.

In the afternoon, we went to Pontcanna Fields. The ravens nest is now practically hidden by the unfolding leaves. If one doesn't know where it is, one would not be able to see it from the ground.

The one raven who was on the ground, and who took some scraps, was the young one of whom I've posted a photo.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

May 11th

Another cold and grey day, no sunshine in the morning, and gloves still needed to be worn.

We left the house at 6.45 a.m., not having heard raven calls earlier.

We followed the route along the quarry field again. The companion of the bold raven picked us up at the top of that field, before we got into the small arboretum - and she followed us into the first part of that arboretum. She picked up her couple of scraps and flew off in between.

Monday, 10 May 2010

May 10th

It was another grey and cold morning, but the arctic wind had not yet turned into a blast, so it felt milder than expected. Still - gloves had to be worn.

We left the house at 6.45 a.m. and followed the now familiar route. Today, the bold raven picked us up at the bottom of the ravens field, opposite the big field. He kept following us, getting his scraps, and again ate some, hid some and then took of with some, flying to Pontcanna Fields. 

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sunday, May 9th

This morning was a cold and gloomy as yesterday. It was still so cold that gloves were a 'must'. Of course, there was no sunshine.

We left the house at 6.40 a.m. Llandaff Fields was empty except for one jogger and his dog Tyler, a standard poodle who was heartily disliked by Big Dog and Madame, for having no dog manners. So Miss Sophie and I always take avoiding actions when we see him.

We followed the same route as the previous days, did repeats of the obedience sets Miss Sophie has to learn, and got to the small arboretum. Still in the quarry field, the companion of the bold raven picked us up. She again had her head feathers raised.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

May 8th

We left the house at 6.50 a.m. It was grey, damp - and beastly cold! 
None of us dog walkers have yet been out of our winter clothes, and gloves were still needed! 
We had heard some raven calls, coming from Pontcanna Fields, but they were not as loud as yesterday.

We went into the Quarry field towards the small arboretum, as yesterday. No raven calls here. We again did lots of basic obedience exercises, avoiding other dogs for the moment.
When we got to the end of the quarry field, before we cross the footpath and go into the small arboretum, one raven came.

Friday, 7 May 2010

May 7th

It was grey and rather cold again when we left the house at 6.45 a.m. this morning.
There had been lots of loud raven calls earlier, coming from Pontcanna Fields.

After yesterday's escapade, I decided Miss sophie needed to go back to basics, so I took her round the quarry field, practising all the way.

Near the small arboretum we saw one raven, watched by a magpie. Both were on the ground. I threw the raven a couple of scraps - it looked like one of the quarry pair. 

Thursday, 6 May 2010

May 6th - Day of the General Elections in the UK

Another grey morning, feeling mild-ish and very damp. In fact, there was quite a drizzle.
We left the house at 6.45 a.m. and went into Llandaff Fields. The reason was that I wanted to check if the ravens still keep the ravens field under observation - and I wanted to see how well Miss Sophie did her exercises with other dogs present.

In the first field, we met Karen and Bas. Sophie was at first not fussed by Bas, and loved greeting Karen. 
Sadly, I made a huge mistake. 
I let go of the 5 yard long trailing lead when Sophie was greeting Karen. I've let Miss Sophie go on the trailing lead for a week now. I did not think there'd be any problem.

... and then Miss Sophie took off.

She was after squirrels. She rushed into Pontcanna Fields, no commands to come back penetrated her mind. 
Karen and I - and Bas! - rushed after her, all the way down the huge playing fields, across into the even bigger part. 

There, Miss Sophie saw a group of people with two dogs. 

She changed course and rushed up to them. They were kind enough to get her lead, so Miss Sophie was finally back under my control.

So - no ravens!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

May 5th

It was mostly grey, with some hint of sunshine, when we left the house at 6.40 a.m. The wind from the NE had not yet picked up. Thus it felt less chilly than I expected - but chilly enough so that gloves were still needed ...

We went straight into Pontcanna Fields, seeing and hearing single ravens in the distance. They vanished when we approached, so we did our walk and exercises.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Some new raven photos, taken on May 3rd, 2010

These photos are of one of the young pair. I have described one of those ravens as having a 'roman' nose.

See for yourselves why I used that description:

Here he is looking towards us - note the different shape of the 'brow' compared to the bold raven:

Here he is eyeing a scrap:

Here he is making a hole to hide his scrap:

Note how deep the beak goes into the ground.

Hopefully I'll be able to take more photos as the weather gets warmer - provided the rain keeps to times when we're not out in the park!

Photos of the ravens' nest, taken on May 2nd, 2010

Here are some photos of the ravens' nest:

The tree with the ravens' nest from a distance:

The nest is the 'blob in the centre of this photo:

Zooming in a bit more:

And here ...:

...  that is a raven in the nest!!

We saw him fly in and land - no doubt possible!

May 4th

It was far less chilly when we went out at 6.50 a.m. than it had been forecast. 
We went directly to Pontcanna Fields and did some of our exercises. Miss Sophie is learning fast, but dogs and squirrels in her field of vision still distract her a lot.

I threw some scraps to a lone raven - one of the young pair. Then he was joined by his companion. He hadn't called, though.

However, they then both called - and suddenly we were surrounded by three dozen crows. I counted them. 
The ravens tried to scare them off, without success.
They then retreated in view of this huge crowd. 
So we retreated home as well.

May 3rd

The morning was cold and grey, the sun coming out while we had our walks. 
There were more bouncy dogs in Llandaff Fields, so we went directly to Pontcanna Fields, taking some more photos of the nest.

Only one raven came to pick up scraps, he was one of the young pair, and I managed to get some photos of him.
He didn't call, and no other ravens joined him.

Sunday May 2nd

Leaving at the usual time, to a more grey morning. 
The park was empty. It was the Bank Holiday.
Today we went to the ravens field. Just one raven came to pick up some scraps. He came from the allotments' side.
No other ravens called or joined the lone raven.

Monday, 3 May 2010


Sorry - due to illness I'm not up to writing up my notes.
Full report and photos when I'm better - hopefully soon!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May 1st

Although rain and icy arctic winds had been predicted, the  early morning was simply glorious. 
It was mild, no wind, no rain - but a very light high mist though which the sun shone. 
A most beautiful start to the day.
At the time of writing, in the afternoon, the sun has gone, the sky is grey, there is a slight breeze from the NW and it feels damp.

We left the house at 6.35 a.m. and went into Pontcanna Fields, from the first field in Llandaff Fields, past the toddlers' playground. We had heard some raven calls in the distance, but saw no ravens in that first field, nor in Pontcanna Fields.

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