27 October 2018

I sensed a presence behind me as I bent to unlock the garage door first thing this morning. Turning, I glanced back and forth through the half-light. Nothing.

I was about to turn back, when something made me look up. A shadow hung in the air above the field at the back of the house, about 15 metres in front of me and 15 metres up. A kestrel on a pre-dawn hunting expedition. It was too dark to make out any details, but the dim hovering silhouette was unmistakable.

There have been noticeably more kestrels around in recent weeks. I’m guessing it’s down to the shorter days. Fewer daylight hours mean fewer hours in which to hunt, so a larger proportion of them need to be spent in the air. I dare say the colder weather discourages the kestrels’ prey from roaming about too much, making the takings even leaner.

It must be hard work being a kestrel in the winter months.

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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