There is nothing quite as fascinating as the realisation that a crow has taken an interest in you. Watching keenly from above, perched on the gutters of a house or branches of a tree. You have to wonder, why? It’s proven that they recognise faces. Perhaps they simply like you; Or maybe it’s the exact opposite. No matter the case, as my group traversed Penwith campus, we were tailed by a winged observer. He perched just below the top of a tree, amongst the naked branches, and set to work causing a ruckus, much to my amusement. It isn’t uncommon to find crows in Cornwall, they’re almost as prevalent as gulls- and this was certainly a crow. He seemed much too small to be a raven, with a beak too long to be called a jackdaw, and too dark to be called a rook.
Accompanied by the incessant caws of our corvid companion, who had now been joined by a friend, sat one crow short of a murder, we trekked on. It was difficult to imagine the long, winding road once only leading to the home of a single family, instead of the sprawling campus seen today. Old yews lined the pavement in uniform rows, perhaps hundreds of years old, towering trees with bark torn, weathered and damaged. Jagged even, and rough to the touch. Three-cornered garlic, or leek, or onion weed-possibly even onion bells, as I have always called them, carpeted the grass in white, accompanied by the occasional purple of english bluebells; the typical foliage sprung upon us as spring turns to summer. It might be pretty, were the scent not so pungent. After a life in the countryside it’s easy to ignore, yet still not any more pleasant.
Sightseeing shifted into storytelling, until eventually, we turned back to head inside, retreating down the familiar path, a breeze picking up under the wings of our crow as he flew away, his interest as fleeting as the now hiding sun.