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July Swifts

July 24, 2012

Fine weather with clear skies appears over the village. The Swifts, which have been noticeably absent during the previous dull weather, have returned to their routine low level roof-hugging evening flight. Their screaming calls ring out even as dusk approaches. I assume that their favoured insect food has hatched in large numbers in the gardens and fields as the weather has improved. The groups of Swifts include their newly fledged young, now airborne and ready to stay that was until next years breeding season or perhaps longer. As I chat with Piet outside the cottage, another streamlined hunting form appears overhead – a Hobby causes panic amongst the Starlings, but the Swifts carry on without visible concern.

The small hawk, sickle winged, jinked and swerved in its run. Its wings alternately swept back and outstretched in that fluid flight that it so characteristic of this type of hawk. I assume that the blustery conditions had forced the usual quarry – whether it be House Martins or large insects – down to street level. In any event this visit was fruitless for the hawk, but at this speed it will cover a large area and eventually successfully strike.

Hobby

August 14, 2011

Saturday afternoon and with clear predatory intent a Hobby is circling the lower end of the village.  Swallows call in alarm and seem to dash about in panic. The falcon circles effortlessly in a wide arc and, when it seems to be satisfied that there are no potential targets, it drifts southwards towards Dudwick. The Swallows seem to take some time to calm down. There was a collective holding of breath.

Wednesday

August 10, 2011

One of those mornings in Brampton. Two sightings of birds which were distinctly out of place. The unmistakeable, whirring shape and arrow like flight of a Kingfisher. It caught me out somewhat – we were walking along the railway line and at least 400 yards away from the river as the bird flew towards Dudwick. A flash of turquoise blue confirmed it’s identity.

A little further round and the scything wings of the Hobby shot between the Church and Brampton Hall. Travelling at speed at roof height – as when I last saw one in the village back in June – this small falcon almost seems to leave an electrical charge in the air in its wake. Such speed leaves you wondering whether you had actually seen it or not.

Then, as we sat over a cup of coffee upon our return, there was a rush of wings and a cloud of feathers in the garden as a female Sparrowhawk struck a Collared Dove. Both disappeared towards Street Farm at such speed that we were unable to see how this ended.

Later on, the Roe Doe accompanied by two fauns grazed quietly on the margins of the wheat field. All watched us carefully from what they felt to be a safe distance.