Conditions: overcast skies, calm, 36F: sunset time 4:27PM
Out on Crow Patrol with initial stops along extended Marston St area, along the Rt. 495 Interchange, and along Sutton St. in North Andover with no Crows in sight. Parked at end of North Main St. and worked my way down to edge of Merrimack River. Hardly a Crow seen or heard. Scanned downriver with binoculars and WOW, thousands of Crows to the east, downriver, mostly on the south side of the river and near the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District plant located at 240 Charles Street. The Crows were gathering in growing numbers, perching in trees, and swarming in flight starting just after 4:30PM. They were in the trees at a distance of about 1/4 to 1/2 mile (425-950 yards) away. Thousands of Crows continued to stream in from upriver, to the west.
They started to surge into flight and make initial movement to final overnight roost location at 4:45PM, about 17 minutes after sunset time. The image above shows the substantial movement from the staging areas downriver towards the final overnight roost. The numbers are huge and somehow the entire groups receives a signal that it is time to make the overall move.
This next image above was taken at 4:50PM, 23 minutes after sunset time. It shows the streaming flight of the Crows as they begin to converge into the final roost located next to the Rt. 495 Bridge. In the background, you can see Crows perched in trees along the off ramp area. They tend to leap frog their way into the roost with intermittent stops along the way. It is always a glorious sight to behold with all the energy and the loud vocalizations! This whole final staging to getting settled into the roost has been taking about 20 minutes.
This one final image was taken from the north side of the river, and from the Marston St. off ramp at 5:08PM, about 41 minutes after sunset time. The Crows are seen perched in nearby trees and on all the adjacent highway signs. At first they gather in loose formation in and around the final roosting area. the formation tightens up quite a bit over the following 30 minutes! It was another extraordinary movement of Crows in flight and they were well settled into the roost by 5:20PM.
Photo gear used for this outing:
Canon EOS 80D; Lens: EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
ATN BinoX 4K 4-16x Day and Night Smart HD Binoculars with photo and video
Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2020 Crow Patrol, Lawrence, MA