I’ll start out making my excuses first, get them out of the way, it was a cold and rainy afternoon as we trudged wearily through the snow.. drifts had formed ten feet high either side of the entrances to the hides, glaciers moving in on us from all directions… erm…okay I may have over-egged that one, but it was raining (though not cold) as I set up my camera gear to photograph the Red Kites at Gigrin Farm, Mid-Wales. Grey clouds covered the sky, and even with the high ISO settings of the 1D4 I wasn’t particularly hopeful that I would manage to take any reasonable photographs of the birds when they arrived.
Feeding time came and went, with one of the staff driving into the centre of the paddock in front of us and scattering choice cuts of meat out to entice the birds in (no rubbish meat for them!), but the overcast skies remained empty. There was hope, the familiar elongated high pitch call of the kite could be heard emanating from the hills in the distance, so we knew they were about.
I then heard a call I’ve not heard for a while, what sounds like a child running a stick along the side of a South American musical instrument – the guiro – creating a ratchety sound, the unmistakable call of a Raven. Eyes peeled, I spotted two of the birds approaching the paddock, one of the still calling whilst on the wing, unconcerned with the food they flew straight past, still.. what a treat. That wasn’t the last encounter with the largest of the Corvidae family of birds , that evening when we finally arrived at our holiday accommodation for the first time I could hear Raven’s calling from a wooded area on a hill facing our cottage. The sound seemed to reverberate around the valley, enhanced by the stillness of all that lay around us, so enchanting was the sound instead of having the radio on whilst I prepared our evening meal, I opened the top section of the stabled front door adjacent to where I was cooking and listened to their song instead. Caw blimey, what a song!