Feb. 8, 2024 under clear skies, wind SE 6MPH, temp at 41F; sunset time 5:06PM
Out on Crow Patrol with a local reporter and news photographer under ideal conditions! Initial incoming flight stream from the SE, up and over the Merrimack River, over Marston Medical building and crossing over Marston Street at 15 minutes post sunset time.
Incoming flight streams continued over next 30 minutes while Crows began perching in nearby hillside trees, arriving with great swirling motions above the tree tops and loud vocalizations. Image below at 16 minutes post sunset time.
As the trees filled with Crows, they just kept arriving in ongoing flight streams along southern edge of hillside. This image at 25 minutes post sunset time.
After 45 minutes the roost was mostly settled in for the night with Crows filling in at levels from the top to the middle of the tree canopy. It is fascinating to watch the roost fill over a short amount of time! The top of the water tower is just visible beyond the tree tops. Image 48 minutes after sunset time.
At 60 minutes, we enjoyed a dazzling flight burst out over the main intersection. These bursts are very unpredictable but very dazzling as they unfold. Another amazing night out!
For the 2023 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the Andover Circle, this separate Crow Count was 11,600 total Crows, including American Crows and Fish Crows. In 2022, the CBC Andover Circle Crow Count was 13,750. Many thanks to Donna Cooper who coordinates and compiles the Andover Circle each year!
Note on counts/estimates: we are now using improved methods for counting the large number of Crows while streaming, staging, and in the roost. For all images, we use both a modified open source counting software program, as well as a hand count approach, while outside next to the roost, to carefully document our observations and to significantly increase reliability and accuracy of the presented numbers. Please refer to our new roost counting guide on main page.
The Canon mirrorless cameras with the RF 50mm f/1.2 lens and the RF 28-70mm F2 excel in low-light conditions, blending versatile focal lengths with an ultra-wide aperture. Both focal lengths work extremely well in very low light conditions, while the f/1.2 and F2 aperture settings ensure exceptional performance in low light conditions, offering stunning clear, and aesthetically pleasing images, making them ideal for the challenging very low light conditions around the overnight roost.
Remember to check out the latest Crow Patrol Podcast with John Macone (Merrimack River Watershed Council): wintercrowroost.com/podcast/
Photo gear used for most outings:
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 EOS R6 Mirrorless with Canon RF 28-70 f/2 L IS USM
Canon EOS R6 II Mirrorless with Canon RF 50 f/1.2 L USM