When I should have been doing the last blogs about Amsterdam or writing up the bands I saw on Thursday or Friday, or setting out how I was going to sort out that hospital, I went out and had a chat with my friends the wild horses.
I walked among them, only feet away from newly born foals.
I’m not blogging about that because all of a sudden everything went still and silent – no birdsong….and I saw a majestic bird of prey;
I have no idea what it is (can you help?) but my guess is that it’s a Red Kite. They were re-introduced around Oxford and parts of Wales about 20 years ago and have been spreading out since.
Prey birds were always persecuted – gamekeepers poisoned them, but round here we are plagued by rats, mice and rabbits – so there is plenty of food going.
Up on the hill above the Thames, I’ve caught sight of something several times, but I wasn’t sure.
Today I was entranced by the slow circles it made as it hunted.
A Kestrel for a Knave
'An Eagle for an Emperor, a Gyrfalcon for a King:
a Peregrine for a Prince, & a Saker for a Knight,
a Merlin for a lady, a Goshawk for a Yeoman,
a Sparrowhawk for a Priest, & a Kestrel for a Knave.'
from the boke of St Albans, 1486,
So, definitely a Kestrel then.
(a don’t stop till you drop production)