Monday, 24 March 2014
Another lucky encounter
birding in the fens often throws up surprises, and a trip to littleport with Dunc yesterday proved the rule creditably. while picking up some concrete slabs for Dunc's new pergola, we drove along Queen Adelaide Way and noticed a falcon ahead of us, head into the wind almost holding its position above the road. my initial thoughts were that it must be a kestrel, surely, but as we pulled onto the concrete pad at the southern end of the settling beds, that subconcious voice in our heads became more vocal, - this was a big bird without the long tail and slender form that you would expect from a kestrel, and as it banked and caught the sun, it's dark chocolate back and blackish mask revealed it's true identity. it was a beautiful young peregrine, living up to it's wandering name, and as we watched it, it dropped down towards a male Marsh harrier that was flying low across the black fen. the harrier baulked as the falcon tilted at it, not quite committing to a full-on attack but making a couple of lunges that hinted at a speed and power the harrier did not possess. the harrier sought sanctuary in the nearest ditch, and the peregrine, satisfied that his point had been made,settled on a clod of soil in the middle of the field. these unexpected happenings just go to show you how transient the birdlife in our region can be, and they should remind us there's life going on across those seemingly empty fields and in the cloudless sky.