Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Roost

After reading 'Crow Country' by Mark Cocker in late 2008 my eyes have been opened to the world of the Rook. It seems the book has sparked a interest deep inside, now every time I see a gathering of Rooks and other Corvidae I'm fixated on there behaviour. The Ultimate spectacle and point of the book is Roosts, this I had not witnessed before in my life until Sunday 1st March.

I volunteer and generally help out at a Falconry business at Stonehaugh, http://www.northumberland-falconry.com/, on my way I drive up the old Military Road. About 1.5 mile up the hill from the Chollerford bridge (going towards Wark), there's a small wood, 2/3 on the left hand side of the road and a 1/3 on the right. Theres a cottage set back in the field to the right with no road access. I have known for a few years that this is the congregation point for all the Rooks and Jackdaws in the area, before they take flight for the roost.

On Sunday I pulled into the layby and watched the happenings of the flock, the noise was unbelievable. Every now and again as a car passed with its headlights on, the whole flock would take flight, sounding like the roar of the waves I'm familiar with down the coast. I wouldn't like to guess the number of birds present, in the hundreds I would think, with a proportionally larger amount of Jackdaws than Rooks, and large numbers of Rooks arriving just as the light fades.

As each group or pair of birds arrive they seem to drop into the congregation like leaves falling from a tree, landing on the outside branches. At 18:15 the whole roost left in one motion, flying over the plantation behind the cottage, here the mystical roost flight process begins, with the whole flock moving as one, swirling and diving in the Sky. Unfortunately at this point the light faded and watching the flock became more difficult. A amazing experience which I think, if you already haven't seen then you most see for yourself.

I would thoroughly recommend reading 'Crow Country' by Mark Cocker.

If anyone knows of a local roost site, or wants more detailed directions please email me at holywellbirding@hotmail.com


  1. Prestwick Carr always had a good corvid roost and I think Ulgham Lane has one too.
    If your ok I'm adding a link onto the Bird North East site for your blog, good luck with it.

  2. Thanks for the info I will have to get down for a look, and thanks for adding my link, cheers Cain