November 17

This drab, dull day

Its natural sounds subdued by drizzle

Are cut through by her sharp cry above

Kehwee! Kehwee!

To her mate unseen, but somewhere near

Stirred up, crows lift from dark hearts of oaks

Gather as a loose assembled mob

A flight of five, or six, or more

Rough circle spreading, all alert

Seeking out the closing threat

Her superior gliding flight now disturbed

Rattling croaks at her wings and tail

She adjusts direction with a flicker

Stretches primaries to the furthest tips

And across the tree-marked hedgerows she slips

Sharply scanning the long-since mown

Damp pastures that spiral below

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CLP 17/11/2019

On August XVII

Grass turned to hay bales

Turf open again to sky

Crows stalk the stubble

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n.b. The corvids leave the pasture in flower to other creatures, but as soon as the ground is clear they descend, spread themselves out, (respecting each others’ personal space), and start grubbing about searching for leather jackets and other insect larvae; anything tasty that just a few days prior was happy under the cover of the grasses.

CLP 27/08/2019

Inhuman

There is a danger in farming

Not often discussed in polite company

That working with animals

Reduces the capacity

To work with people

As empathy with animals grows

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The simplicity of sheep

The compliance of cattle

The stupidity of chickens

The hunger of owls

The savagery of the vixen

Leave little room for misunderstanding

But who can understand why crows might be moved in the hours of darkness to peck out the eyes of fluffy, yellow chicks to leave them running blind by morning?

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CLP 18/05/2019

Crow

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Aloft on a waft

To drop mollusc on shingle

Did gulls teach or learn?

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n.b. It is fascinating to watch gulls and crows rise 3 or 4 metres on the breeze with the intention of dropping a shelled shore-dweller onto the pebbled beach repeatedly until the shell cracks open and the meaty interior is accessible. When I mentioned this to my step-father, Frank Hawes, I had presumed the seabirds got the idea first. He said, “Maybe the gulls copied the crows.”

CLP 03/01/2019