Wednesday 6 May 2015

The Kestrel at the Cricket Ground

I had planned an expedition to the remains of Cotham Railway Station to look for grizzled skipper butterflies, an adventure that would have required penetrating the impenetrable jungle at the end of the cycle path. But the weather when I woke up was so grim and grey an expedition to my front door seemed out of the question.

Eventually however, the rain eased somewhat, although the wind never did. I set off through the cemetery, looking for anything worthy of spotting to snap. We have maximum bluebell at the moment, so that was an easy one, as was the carpet of ramsons. But I was looking for something else, because you know my dear readers, I don't want to bore you or have you going "Oh, it's that lame bloody runner with his flowers again!"

Luckily I spotted a kestrel hovering over the scrubby margins at the edge of Elm Avenue cricket ground. It was masterful at using the strong wind to maintain a totally motionless hover as it searched the ground for rodents and maybe frogs. It let me get close too, maybe twenty metres or so, engrossed by whatever was beneath its laser sharp eyes. However, a second kestrel then appeared, and seemed to distract it. I wonder if they were a pair.

However, it didn't fly away for long, as it settled back on a concrete fencepost and again let me get close, this time maybe as near as fifteen metres or less. I could see its grey head and drooping moustache watching me, well, watching me like a hark until it could tolerate me no more, and made its way off into a stand of trees.

After that, I kept going for 7.5 kilometres, through the deep green and yellow fields behind grange road, where starlings kept erupting from the bright sun oilseed rape flowers. But flutterers and buzzers were non existent, and have been all day.

What I did see though were off road bikers again. Despite the fact that the landowner has put up more concrete blocks to stop them getting in.

Bluebell ditch

Ramson ditch

Think this may be stitchwort now

Horse chestnut flower. About a foot long!

Conker flower close up

Kestrel on the hover

Kestrel on the fence

Gypsum barrier

I follow footprints

It's all yellow between here and Hawton

More anti moto measures

Mum's Bramley is in blossom now

And her Choicia is out. If that is how you spell it. Insects love it.


  1. Yes, think you are right about the stitchwort Si - it is out around here - same too for ransoms. Rape just coming out. I used to hate the colour as it is so harsh, but this rather grey April has made me enjoy it. It is like sunshine when there is none to be had.

  2. I feel the same, we've had a chilly mid spring really! I shall be in search of more colour today, if the weather holds I'm out on a long run today.

  3. Lovely bluebells and horse chestnut candle! Thank you for your Tree Following comment.

  4. Hi Simon,

    It is indeed stitchwort. Pretty little flower......
    It is Choisya has taken me years with some of these spellings, they still confuse me sometimes. I only know this one because I grow it :)

    I envy you the Bramley in the garden. Does it fruit well ??

  5. Lovely selection of flowers Simon especially like your photo of the Horse Chestnut Candle :) So many beautiful flowers around at the moment - May is a lovely month!

  6. Mum's bramley fruits very well, and made many a crumble with the blackberries I gathered on my running expeditions!

    Glad my pics are going down well! It's hard to keep my eyes going in all directions and see everything!