Dec. 8 at 4:10PM, sunset time 4:48PM; on Crow Patrol under clear skies, S wind at 10MPH, 54°F in Norfolk, VA. Down in Norfolk fo a visit with my brother, Dave Gibson. He had put out word in advance of my arrival that I was seeking info on the local winter Crow roost. Found staging area in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery;
and then witnessed impressive Crow flights converging near Kempsville Road after sunset. Many thanks to Laura Mae for prior eBird postings on large numbers of pre-dawn Crows in the area.
Dec. 9 at 5:45AM, sunrise time 7:06AM on pre-dawn Crow Patrol under clear skies, SW wind at 8MPH, 40°F. Early Crow Patrol revealed a large group of mostly Fish Crows, based on vocalizations, all around, but mostly behind Marriott Springhill Suites at 6350 Newtown Road in Norfolk. Crows vocalized and gathered on ground, trees, and rooftops while still mostly dark outside, but with abundant nearby ambient lighting.
Checked nearby sites, but no other roost signs. During 45 minutes leading up to sunrise, many intermittent flight burts and outbound flight streams. A spectacular morning Crow Show!
Dec. 9 at 4:05PM, sunset time 4:48PM; on Crow Patrol under partly cloudy skies, SW wind at 9MPH, 69°F. Looking for the arriving Crows with my brother Dave, and we observed incoming Crow flyovers near Woodlawn Cemetery. We then positioned ourselves near the west end of North Center Drive and Kempsville Road just after sunset, witnessed increasing Crow activity with large incoming flight streams converging in trees and rooftops near us and the moving to the west towards interchange cloverleaf.
Made a determined effort at close to 3.5 hours post sunset to circle back to entire interchange clover leaf area to survey roosting crows. It was well worth the effort. Went around each ramp in the entire clover leaf and observed overnight roosting Crows in trees covering a 250 meter circle with Rt. 264 East and Rt. 64 N/S as the center point. The Crows were well dispersed in a range of trees, all around high level ambient lighting from the elevated highway lights. Image below captured from outside car in breakdown lane. A dazzling night on Crow Patrol!
Dec. 10 at 5:50AM, sunrise time 7:07AM; on Crow Patrol under partly cloudy skies, strong S wind at 15MPH, gusts to 22MPH, 63°F. Final visit to see the Crows while in Norfolk; observed Crows in early morning staging action in and around Spring Hill Suites. Noted fresh incoming flight streams to the staging area from WNW and interchange cloverleaf overnight roosting area.
As daylight approached, almost all Crows seen departing to the east, out to daytime foraging grounds. Dazzling morning display with better insights into local Crow roost patterns and behavior!
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