All images ©ericweight 2016

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I know they are much hated. I know they are supposed to be the harbingers of doom but that suits me just fine, because I also know that they are the cleverest birds on the face of the planet. Crows are just the big black cohorts of the grim reaper aren't they?

Well, from where I sit in my freezing cold hide today, it doesn't seem that way. The ones I have in front of me are pink and electric blue, and crafty too as they wage a battle of wits against the grey squirrels, no slouches in the brains department them selves.

Subtle shades of blue and purple iridescence shimmer across the 'black' of the magpies wings as they stride tall and proud across the woodland leaf litter. I like crows and I am minded to intensify my efforts to photograph them.

So what crows do I have access to around here. More than you might think I suppose. Carrion crows for a start, rooks, jackdaws, magpies and jays all live on my doorstep so I shall start with them, but if I am prepared to travel, I could add hooded crows, ravens and chough to that list.

Each and every one of them has their own individual quirks of behaviour and appearance but as usual , the majority of people just lump them all together because they look but don't see.

So why the sudden interest? I have photographed every one of those on the list already, but not in any detail because they are generally speaking almost impossible to get anywhere near. My remote camera hide is opening new doors in this respect. Today the jays were sitting on it.

Even so the carrion crows that appear regularly on my trail camera walking right up to the box while I am back at home, spent a full hour surveying it while I was there today without ever walking in front of it. They knew I was there, completely hidden in a fully zipped up hide, because they had watched me arrive but never seen me leave. Usually that means they won't even come down from the tallest trees, preferring to remain high above shouting out the good news, "he's still in there you know!"

But I will get there. I have a much bigger remote battery pack for the camera which means that I don't need to leave the hide to replace batteries every 90 minutes, and that made a big difference today. This system is working well, but it does require a lot of patience. You cannot take a shot and move on. More frustratingly the birds will pose perfectly and perform all sorts of interesting behaviour in the wrong place. Open the hide a crack to use a hand held camera and they will not even turn up. It feels very much like real, old-school wildlife photography.


My nature