What better way to spend Christmas Day evening than immersing oneself in jackdaws. Following the Festive Fare, I headed off to West Boldon village in Tyneside with my wife. Fresh air and a bit of exercise wrapped up in something which had intrigued me the day before.
I was born and spent the first few faltering years of my life in West Boldon, then an urban rural district, now part of the great conurbation of the North East. Back then there were 12 farms and numerous market gardens. It's where I cut my natural history teeth. But back in the 1970's apart from a rookery in the next village, I can not recall a massed jackdaw roost. Yet on Christmas Eve driving back to my parents I spied a huge gathering of jackdaws over the old part of the village.
Which is why at about 3.30pm I stood under this black snow. Very difficult to count them but I'd suggest 1000 as there were a hundred + in each tree in all directions. Just magical spending thirty minutes or so as the dusk gathered being enthralled by these birds. Very few rooks as far as I could tell, just jack-a-jack jackdaws, coming home to roost. The best Christmas present ever.