Friday, 3 January 2014

Blaencanaid Ravens

The weather prevented me from counting the ravens on New Years day, as planned, so I took advantage of the improved weather and did it yesterday morning instead.
A heavy shower delayed me getting to the place from which I count them, but I was in place by 07:10 and while waiting for them to start appearing over the horizon I heard geese and dimly saw a tight flock of what I presume were Canadas flying through the pass between Abernant and Heolgerrig, no doubt heading for Cyfarthfa park. As the sky brightened and time was getting on towards 07:30, I wondered whether any ravens would show or whether the wind damage to the roost and the recent bad weather had caused them to move elsewhere. Excitement came in the shape of a woodcock which hurtled past on its way to roost. At last, at 07:30, the first ravens appeared and from then on to the end at 08:15, they came in small groups and pairs, some loitering to display and perform aerobatics before heading off towards Bryn Pica tip.
The final total was 113, which was a reasonable total for January, as can be seen in this chart.

The apparent zero counts represent the absence of a count not of birds.
I have now been counting this roost monthly for long enough for a nice population profile to show in a monthly averages chart.

As well as the ravens, geese and woodcock, I also had Wren, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Buzzard, all firsts for the year.


  1. Welcome Mark, nice to see you aboard.

  2. cheers mark . It,s a good read and it amazing how it changes from month to month.

  3. Nice to be here.
    Yes, the roost certainly has a seasonal cycle, the high summer peak occurring when the breeders return with their young, but I've never been able to work out why there is a smooth peak, rather than a plateau lasting most of the year, with a marked trough as the breeding pairs leave to breed.

  4. Wouldnt it be great if you could work out how far they are coming from.It must be miles.

  5. The general to-ing and fro-ing from the roost is mostly between there and the tip, though Mike and I proved that some fly off S.East, down the Taff valley, destination unknown.
    As for the pairs that go off to breed (maybe up to a hundred), they must disperse over a vast area.