I published my patch 'wish list' a little while ago, and in response a birder from Kenilworth wrote to tell me that he had seen double-figure counts of Ravens in recent months - surely they were on their way to me.
And how right he was. I crept out for an hour-long birding walk around Radford Semele this morning before work (yeah, still too much of that right now) and was having a fantastic time (all the regulars, including great views of a Green Woodpecker and some all-too-rare Linnets) when I suddenly saw a large black bird among the Crows and Jackdaws.
At first I thought it was a dark Buzzard, but no - it was black, with a long, heavy bill and a diamond-shaped tail - this was my first patch Raven! Within moments it had been joined by three, four, five more and soon I was watching these amazing aviators twisting, turning and playing, their feet hanging low below them, in the strong westerley winds towards the top of Crown Hill.
It was wonderful to watch, and became more amazing as more and more Ravens turned up. In the end I estimated 18, but that has to be plus or minus 5 or 6 - they were so mobile that it was impossible to be 100% sure of the number.