6 April 2020

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been worried about the absence of blue tit activity in the nest box in our Scots pine. We put our first box up there in 2002, and have had nesting birds every year since. But, while I was waiting for the kettle to boil first thing this morning, I saw a streak of blue and yellow emerge at speed from the box. The relief was enormous.

During our early evening walk around the lanes, I spotted a buzzard hanging high and motionless in the air above the track to the Farm, clearly on the lookout for food. It suddenly flipped over sideways and plummeted about ten metres before resuming its motionless vigil. Ten seconds later, it repeated the manoeuvre, dropping another ten metres or so.

I assumed these tumbles must be a convenient and quick way to lose altitude. But as I watched the bird through my zoom lens after the second tumble, it seemed to be eating something from its talons. I’ve never heard of buzzards taking prey on the wing, but wondered whether that was what I’d seen. It seems unlikely. It was still too high up to tell for sure. Perhaps it was just having a good in-flight scratch.

Buzzard

Later, an excited phone call from the Farm containing some A1 intelligence… The local barn owl is now two barn owls, and they appear to have taken up residence in the unused hay-loft.

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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