Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Friday, 23 May 2014

Newland's stock take

After Wednesday night's deluge, Rob Hunter describing it "as of Biblical proportions", I expected something to have happened. A couple of sightings of Hobby in the past couple of days suggest that the local nest site might be occupied - I'll take a look over the weekend. A check of the farm, this morning, revealed that two of the male Whitethroats have moved on, the Swallows only "might" be using the barn, but there are now several Yellow Wagtails out in the potatoes, although the bird I photographed earlier isn't displaying from the same area.
Close to the fence of Ellington Girl's School
The first Swifts arrived a couple of weeks ago, being seen over St. Luke's, but not venturing into Newland's airspace until yesterday. There was a small influx late yesterday afternoon and this morning a flurry of birds flew south over the bungalow - so I grabbed a few shots.
One day I might just get an image that does this species justice - until then this'll have to do!
A male Blackcap is singing from the main farm garden (out of bounds for me) and a Chiffchaff remains in gardens along the eastern boundary footpath.
The most spectacular sighting, however, occurred as I prepared to leave for work yesterday! I'd just finished feeding the birds in my aviary and became aware of the local gulls being somewhat agitated without the spiraling panic that I associate with an overflying raptor. As I walked up to the bungalow a huge falcon skimmed over the roof - less than 20 feet up. Clearly trailing jesses from it's legs, it appeared to be a Saker? As quick as it came it was gone, over the hedge, and lost from view. No camera and work beckoning, I left home to walk across the footpath; the gulls still not happy. About half way to the "Scaffolder's Yard" the bird reappeared and I was able to call it (I whistled and held my arm up - something I'd seen a falconer do out on Worth Marshes a couple of years ago!) and the bird came straight towards me. No glove and no lure, the falcon passed within 10 feet, eyeing me intently, before banking and making another pass. It was an awesome experience - how I wish I'd had my camera, the bird was magnificent. Yes, I am well aware of how plastic the sighting is - doesn't detract one bit from the sheer enjoyment of those few moments. Two crows and a host of Herring Gulls continued to give the falcon grief and I last saw it as it flew south over the farm towards St. Luke's - magic stuff!

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