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January 2017

A week before Christmas it was a foggy, dull day, not very enticing to go out, but we made the effort. We drove to Steeple and took the footpath which runs behind the ‘Sun and Anchor’ pub. It first runs through a little copse then across a field to a bridge crossing a brook to a track lined by some very old Elm trees. A rare sight in itself. A bird of prey took off in front of us with whatever it had caught, held in its talons. A buzzard flew through the trees and settled at the top of a branch, a little further away another one was doing the same.
Further on, passing hip laden hedgerows, fieldfares ‘chucked’ as they flew ahead of us. Then I stopped in my tracks as a bird swooped out of a Blackthorn copse. Binoculars identified it as a Short-Eared owl – another first for me. It sat on a post, preening itself, occasionally turning its head to watch us. Ten minutes later we walked on and it then gracefully glided off into nearby trees. What a sight. The only regret was that I had left my camera at home. Down on the seawall the usual sights and sounds of the wading birds at the water’s edge. Lots of movement in the sky too, with flocks of Lapwing, Redshanks and Dunlin and amazingly, 40 Curlew flying towards the river. Heading back, a Starling murmuration completed a memorable walk on a now, not so dull day. – Maisie –