Feb. 10, 2024 under clear skies, wind SW 7MPH, temp 53F; sunset time 5:09PM

Out on Crow Patrol with initial scouting visits at the nearby ball field and along Sutton Street to observe staging Crows. Met up with group of 10 for a Crow Patrol walk and talk; due to two reschedulings, the group was smaller than original 36 registrants, but very enjoyable. Right on schedule the Crows arrived in small numbers and swirled in flight above the tree tops in the general roost area.

Larger numbers followed from the SE and E with loud vocalizations, and arrival flight path was along the Marston Street treetops to the east of our location.

We took a quick time out to capture an image of the attendees having fun and mesmerized by the action. Words they sued to describe the outing: “awesome, mesmerizing, magnificent, spectacle, amazing, stunning, and dazzling!”

By 35 minutes after sunset time, the Crows were well settled in for the night with minor continuing flight movements within the roost area.

Almost 5 minutes later, we all enjoyed one final huge flight burst out over Marston Street. Another spectacular outing!

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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