Saturday, 7 February 2015
The woodland empties. Pigeons everywhere,scattered like tenpins. Unseen below the canopy a Goshawk is coming. There are two or three Buzzards already up, slowly feeding off updrafts and gentle breezes. Suddenly the Gos is above the conifer belt, and then another joins it, a smaller bird, a male.
While the buzzards are like old propeller driven bombers- camouflaged and crafted with subtle curves and fine details, the Goshawks have arrived like the Jet Age- metallic missiles with wings. The Gos is a more basic design, and it remains aloft by sheer power- there's no reliance on thermals and currents. Deep wingbeats thrust the bird upwards at the start of each display flight.
The sun shines on their bulky fuselage as, for a few minutes, we are frozen not by the bitter cold, but by the hypnotic power of the hawk.
On to Lynford, and a finch the colour of the leaf litter it pokes through. Beautifully carved and polished, seemingly, from the very wood it relies on, the Hawfinch is a bird as ephemeral as the dappled light that speckles the woodland floor. The gentle giant- massive bill wielded carefully and delicately, quiet and steady, while above, in the tangled branches, the chatter of Siskins is incessant and hurried.
A Marsh Tit sneezes, and all through the wood the yapping of Nuthatch is heard. Activity at the feeder is frenetic. Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Great Tit, Coal Tit- Robin, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch.One after another. Flit, grab, off. Into the trees. Back for more. Clear the way. Nuthatch mouthful. grab a seed. Alarm call! Panic over. Back for more.