Conditions: clear skies, wind W at 5 MPH, temp 85°F; sunset time 8:01PM
Had a chance to get out on Crow Patrol a bit earlier than normal and drove in a wider area around the regular staging/roosting area along South Canal Street. Discovered a pack of young Fish Crows hanging around along South Canal St. just west of Casey Bridge; they were seen perching on utility wires and nearby rooftops in between wild playful flight activities. The photo below shows a small group resting for a short while on utility wires located on the south side of the street. As always, there were lots of vocalizations.
Then they started streaming into the trees in the truck depot area, to the east, just before 7PM; the flight groupings come in all sizes, sometimes 2-3 at a time, and larger groupings of 10-15 at a time and even larger groupings than that!
About 30 minutes prior to sunset, moved over to the park at Mill240 to observe the stealth flight movement into the overnight roost which got started around 10 minutes after sunset time! The Crows tend to assemble into a final large staging group along the south side of the Merrimack River, mostly in the trees, but also on nearby roof top edges and wires. Prior to movement to the roost, the vocalizations tend to taper off for 5-10 minutes. Then a flurry of flight activity unfolds with some of the Crows making a series of leapfrog movements towards the overnight roost, with stops to perch with others while on the way to the roost. Other Crows will stream in flight right into the overnight roost trees. The pattern is always just a bit different and always fascinating to behold!
Photo gear used for this outing:
Canon EOS 80D with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
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