The winter woods were open to the sky and suspiciously quiet. No clumpy nests in trees either. There was a beating but not of rook wings; rather, the drums of City fans (boo). A pair of crows flew past. A lone starling. But no rooks.
Dru was puzzled. Her source knows her rooks from her crows and her Motacilla flava from her Emberiza citronella. We had to be in the wrong wood, but by now it was nearly dark and the spectacle, if it had happened elsewhere on the estate, would be over.
We walked back over the bridge, resolved to research the disappearing rooks of Bristol and the possibility that their kin roost on Wickwar Common, where the summer before last we'd loitered in the hope of hearing nightingales.
Not a bad way to end the old year and start the new - out and about, cupping the spark of curiousity and always remembering, in the words of Seamus Heaney, to 'credit marvels', whether they're the ones we were expecting or not.