January 24th 2021

We usually hear the jackdaws some ten minutes or so before sunrise: jack, jack, jack, jack, and then the great silence descends for a while. The rooks chuck the odd aark into the mix, but it tends to get lost amid the jackdaw vocals. Once they have completed their flypast, it is a while before you notice any other birdsong. Gradually it seems to return, and then you realise it was there all along, but it was lost beneath the chorus of cacophonous corvids and still sounds muted once they are gone.

Jackdaws and rooks commonly form mixed flocks. Small groups of them tend to flit through here throughout the day, although never so vocally as at sunrise or sunset. At times, I have watched them heading towards the open countryside away to the east a little before sunset – small groups coming from different directions to the area where they tend to congregate, and from where they will then all fly off in a single flock to their roost together in an area of woodland at dusk.

It was another thick frost this morning, and then a red, red sky as though it was all afire, the clouds like volcanic effusions drifting across, by which time the rooks and jackdaws had scattered to their trees and roofs. Then the sky yellowed with the promise of snow, or did it only look that way because I was aware that was the forecast? When I go out into the back garden to scatter the coffee grounds, the chill of the air in my nostrils makes me think I can smell snow.

On time, the snow arrives, although it has barely reached the ground before melting, and quickly turns to sleet. While it is snowing, there is a brightness outside, even under the dark clouds, but once it turns to sleet, it somehow darkens and just becomes a little more miserable. As I look out of the window now, I see the wind picking up, a little thin sleet falling, and a uniformly grey sky.

Isn’t it time for spring yet?

23 thoughts on “January 24th 2021

  1. Here on the Gulf Coast, where snow is so infrequent, I’ve learned the truth of what you suggest: it is possible to smell snow on the air. When I still was doing offshore sailing, I learned another lesson: that it’s possible to smell the land long before you see it. It’s not a daysailing experience, but after a few days at sea, land-scent is unmistakable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can certainly understand smelling the land from the sea (as long as there’s an offshore wind!), I’ve experienced that myself.

      How about telling whether it’s about to snow on the land when you’re at sea…?


  2. Mick, wondrous writing capturing the beauty of snow and the magic of pre-dawn chorus! The sunrise this morning was spectacular and wow, does it not remind us how small we really are! Yesterday we had a sudden hour-long snowfall, and as you describe, the light is incredible, almost surreal. Then this changed to sleet and the usual dull grey descended upon the world again. For that hour the laughter of children out playing in the garden hearkened back to olden days … of a year ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gosh, yes, olden days. No longer ‘When we were children’ or ‘When our parents were young’. We yearn for the ‘good old days’ of 2019 when we could wander around without worrying someone might come along and cough at us.

      But dawn and the early morning are always beautiful and, yes, magical. The only thing I think would better it at the moment is moonlight on a snowscape.

      Liked by 1 person

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