The most colourful British corvid, this Eurasian Jay brightened up my walk in a cemetery this week as it bounded between headstones. I've had a real soft spot for this species ever since eventually tracking down my first of these incredible birds at my childhood patch, Nonsuch Park in Surrey, as one of my early earliest birding missions.
The Eurasian Jay is a common bird but one that always stops me in my tracks when good views are on offer. Inevitably I end up daydreaming that they look like the 'artist' has forgotten to fill that last bit of colour on the bird's head, something I find more arresting than even the shot of blue on the pied wings.
Not only are they unfairly villainized for their occasional habit of taking eggs and chicks, the Eurasian Jay often receives bad reviews for its voice. I've complained about the mismatch between their stunning plumage and raucous screeches before but, thinking about it, I just can't imagine an oak woodland without the rough cries of disagreeing Eurasian Jays. It just fits. Still not a fan? If you can get close enough, you'll sometimes hear one making all manner of more endearing squeeks and gurgles, which are guaranteed to raise a smile.