Thursday, 5 July 2012

Brilliant birds and clumsy stupidity.

When the frankly atrocious weather finally took a break long enough to allow an extended outdoor excursion, I decided to make the most of it. I am fortunate enough to live close to the coast and decided on a coastal walk with the aim primarily of bird watching. And so set off with enthusiasm and optimism at what the outing would bring.


 The route to the coastal walk itself passed by several fields and hedgerows ideal habitat for small mammals and birds of which I particularly expected to see.  It did not take long along the route before the first glimpses of Rabbits bounding for cover came into view while House Sparrows and Chaffinches called loudly to each other as I walked past clearly unhappy at my presence. Further along my walk I was greeted with a sight, which always makes enjoyable watching, Swallows a sure sign summer has supposedly arrived on their completion of their migration from Africa, twisted and turned chasing after small flying insects with remarkable agility. After watching them for a while fascinated by them, I decided to move on.  On arriving at the turning for the cliff path, it was noticeable that although the sun had unbelievably made an appearance, it had in no way been out long enough to dry out the deluge of rain that appeared over the previous few days, as the large puddles clearly showed. Unperturbed by this hardly surprising discovery I pushed on, and very quickly was rewarded with a sight I had not witnessed for quite some time. A beautiful Kestrel hovering over an open field searching for potential prey served as a reminder why they are one of my favourite birds. The incredible ability alone to be able to hover is amazing added with  their fantastic eyesight and adaptability and it really is no surprise they are such successful hunters. For several minutes the majestic bird continued to hunt within view, before then clearly deciding that the area for now was vacant of tasty Voles and moved onto a different hunting ground sadly out of immediate view.

Kestrel hovering.
 Image available at:

Surprisingly little else was seen on my walk and if I had turned around after seeing the Kestrel not only would my walk have ended on a high, I would also of saved myself a fair amount of discomfort. As I continued I was suddenly presented with a potentially difficult obstacle. Directly in front was a very large puddle, to my left was a National Trust sign, blocking my immediate route around the swamp and my right presented a delightful assortment of Brambles, Thorns and Stinging Nettles. After considering my options it became apparent if I was careful and agile, (I am neither of those things) I could jump over the narrowest part of the swamp and avoid the sign, I decided to go for it. Mistake. My leading leg cleared the obstacle fine, however I realised at about the same time as my trailing knee clattered into the sign that I had miscalculated. Donk! was the sound it made as my the knee connected, I'm sure the sign nearly was uprooted by the force of it. The knee unsurprisingly was not to pleased with me about my mistake and the pain was quite amazing I decided after this to cut my loses turn back and hobble. All the way home.

   Despite this however the wildlife seen was well worth it and as I write this the resident Jay I had started to become worried about after not seeing for a few days reappeared. And to make it better it brought a partner with it! not  a bad way  to sign off I think.
 Bye for now George.

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