Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Kestrel Hunts by Twilight

I'm now in deep darkness as I leave for work each morning, a darkness pierced by the bright dawn call of blackbirds, and now sometimes suffused in thick mist.

By evening when I leave, the day has been and gone all but unseen by myself, and the sun has set leaving an intermediate twilight, with the golden-purple girdle of venus hugging the horizon. The smoke from the sugar factory acts as a wind-gauge, allowing me to realise the wind will be in my face when cycling home, as ever.

Against this backdrop, the wagtails have now indeed arrived in greater numbers  - see my post here - to the point where now well over a hundred are bubbling around their roost trees by 630pm. Their elegantly undulating flight sits black against the sky.

Further round, where the barn owl quarters the waste ground, a kestrel could be seen hovering against a strong blustery wind. Initially around ten metres up, the scythe winged predator is able to control its flight as if it is in a lift, lowering and raising itself with little apparent effort.

At one point it was barely a metre above the ground, before executing a messy drop to ground level, where it apparently missed whatever prey it had seen. No comparison with the 220 mph swoops of a peregrine, but its hover is something else entirely; undisturbed by even a wind as strong as this, it is able to focus on a small area of ground, and detect even the smallest prey species before bringing taloned death from the skies...

...but nit this time. Not this time.

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