Full House

Feb. 5, 2024 under partly cloudy skies, wind NW 8MPH, 37F, sunset time 5:02PM

Out on Crow Patrol at Marston Street intersection with magnificent sunset and watching first incoming flight streams coming in from downriver and crossing over Marston Medical building. Image at 9 minutes post sunset time.

This has been the normal patterns in this location as the incoming Crows then cross over Marston Street heading for Prospect Hill around the water tower. We observed numerous exciting flight bursts out over Marston Street as the roost grew in size with loud vocalizations. This image below at 24 minutes post sunset time.

Another flight burst erupted well out over the three way intersection with raucous vocalizations at 28 minutes post sunset time….one of the biggest bursts we’ve ever seen around the Lawrence roost…..WOW!

At 45 minutes after sunset time with the Crows heavily concentrated in the hillside tree tops, we made our way up to the Geisler Memorial Pool complex on High Street, below the water tower, and observed the overnight roost from the back side. Standing in the parking lot provides great views and sufficient distance from the Crows so they remain in place. The ambient lighting is quite bright around the actual pool deck. Image at 45 minutes post sunset time.

Overall this extended hillside area location has become a favorite location for the roosting Crows and provides a high level of ambient lighting on both sides of the roost. This final image captured almost 90 minutes after sunset time with night vision gear, shows a cluster of Crows on one of the tree tops. Another dazzling night!

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 

Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder

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