We have a small almond tree in our garden. It's the first of the 'fruit' trees to flower - usually in January, but ours is always behind the rest. I'm not terribly keen on the marzipan smell, but the blossom is very pretty and, come September, we should have another bumper crop of a dozen or so nuts!
The same day I took this shot, I heard the distinctive call of ravens approaching. Quite unlike the harsh caw of a crow, the raven's call is more of a croak, or a 'cronk.' A friendlier sound, somehow, and unmistakeable. Every time I see or hear one I get a warm feeling inside, as I'm reminded of Scotland and the Lake District.
Four of them appeared - two pairs - low over the roof of our bungalow. So low, that I could hear their powerful wingbeats. They were clearly having a lot of fun, tumbling around one another for a couple of minutes above our garden. No locking of claws for which I believe they're famed, but impressive nonetheless.
The only other time I've seen a raven 'displaying' was when I was walking down a steep track in the mountains. First came the croak from somewhere behind. I turned, and saw one bird fairly high up, some distance away. But then I spotted its mate, heading straight for me, fast and low, wings tucked in tight. I began to wonder if it had noticed me on its flightpath. As it swerved round me - at eye level - it flipped upside down and back again. I'm fairly sure it winked at me too!
There's something jolly about ravens.