Right- thats enough football pundit speak, however apt it is for a description of this young Peregrine out on the washes yesterday afternoon. It swung down towards a passing Marsh harrier as I was watching a pair of Cranes feeding in the rough grass, and then shied at a Coot before scattering gulls and wildfowl in its wake with a low pass through the heat haze. Up until then the scene had been one of slumber, with masses of Wigeon, Pintail, Teal and Shoveler hard to discern out on the muddy quads and silt covered vegetation as they roosted like so many brown lumps and tussocks, the occasional white breast or emerald head the only things to stand out amongst the earthen tones of the after-flood.
A Merlin suddenly alighted in a bush just across the drain. It remained for a few minutes and then skipped off along the bank, making forays over the washland, darting low to the ground and landing briefly, head bobbing, alert, wary.
In the distance a Great Egret preened, and then a small flock of Teal flushed from beyond a small reedbed.
Looking along a drain bank, the unmistakeable shape of Peregrine. Blue backed and brown winged, it was the same young bird that had been bullying all the other birds, but now it was on the recieving end, as Black-headed gulls carefully swooped down and forced it up into the air. The peregrine slowly circled, gaining height all the time, but before it had gained the advantage, a Buzzard appeared from nowhere and stooped from the upper levels, putting the falcon on the defensive once more. The acrobatic display of the two raptors was played out in front of a huge flock of Golden plover that spread out in the distant blue.