Conditions: overcast skies, calm, 61F; sunrise time 6:05AM

Observation details: arrived almost 90 minutes before sunrise time. Crow roost uniformly quiet and spread out in perch locations. Around 75 minutes before sunrise time, initial murmuring began, with increasing frequency and intensity; Mostly Fish Crows with a number of American Crows. Crows were spread out in trees on south side of Merrimack River from the Duck Bridge and along full length of New Balance building, just over 200 yards as seen in image below captured about 50 minutes before sunrise time with infrared camera. The IR camera provides an excellent contrast!

The New Balance building provides plenty of ambient lighting as seen from midway out on the west side of the Duck Bridge. The traffic on the bridge was still very light and that made it easier to listen to the growing vocalizations from the Crows. This image below, captured about 45 minutes before sunrise time, shows a closer shot of a small group of Crows perched in the roost close to the Duck Bridge.

As we continue to acquire and deploy more effective tools to enhance image capture, had a nice opportunity to utilize an infrared illuminator to zero in on a small group of Crows nestled in the roost. The illuminator provides excellent lighting for night vision gear and a better look in the dark at the perched Crows. The illuminator creates a bright reflective catchlight effect in the eyes of the Crows!

The Crows began to disperse and head off towards day time foraging grounds. They starting this dispersal process about 30 minutes prior to sunrise time, and continued even for a while after sunrise time. This next image below shows a small number of Crows perched atop a single tree at the south end of the Casey Bridge and on the west side of bridge. The image was captured about 10 minutes before sunrise time. The Crows use this as a leapfrog location as they depart the general area. They will land in this tree, perch for a few minutes and then head off to the west. As one bunch of Crows depart, another group arrives!

After a delightful morning observing and photographing the Crows, and while departing the Casey Bridge, looked up and noticed a group of Fish Crows assembled atop a high voltage metal utility pole at south end of Casey Bridge on the east side, next to Simpson Brothers. This is another leapfrog location before heading off for the day.

Spectacular sky colors just before sunrise while looking downriver and to the east from the Casey Bridge, overlooking the mighty Merrimack River with the Mill240 building on left side of photo….WOW!

Photo gear used for this outing:

Canon EOS 80D with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS 

Canon EOS 80D with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (Infrared)

Canon 1DX MK II with Canon EF Telephoto Zoom 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

ATN BinoX 4K 4-16x Day and Night Smart HD Binoculars with photo/video

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Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2020 Crow Patrol, Lawrence, MA