Back to nature

Megan Sammons

Peregrine falcons seen 2020
(M Sammons)

Early morning nature walks

As we were only allowed rationed time outside during the beginning of Covid 19, we began to go for early morning nature walks. Six thirty in the morning in early April was almost void of traffic noise, hence the sounds of bird song was almost deafening, (in a good way.)

We stayed local and did the same walk several times marvelling at the array of spring flowers or weeds whatever they were. It was an ever changing scene as the weeks drew on. During the duration of the walks there were the continual cheerful melodious tones of bird song. Occasionally spying the birds, but many birds are very clever and private little creatures and can see and sense intruders to their territories. Many if spotted were recognisable, hedge sparrows, goldcrests, an occasional wren and blackcaps. A green woodpecker with its unmistakable swooping flight. One day we were lucky enough to see a heron, standing in the water statuesque, patiently waiting to stealthily pounce on its unsuspecting prey.

Discovering a Peregrine Falcon & its young

This takes me onto further adventures of bird life. We ventured a little further afield to track down a bird of prey we had only seen in books and on the television before. It was a Peregrine Falcon and its young. The mother was a sight to behold, guarding her three babies, sitting on their nest. Mum would leave from time to time to stretch her wings or perhaps to hunt for prey which seemed to be a shared task between the parents. It was a magnificent sight and we learnt a lot about the habits of these spectacular birds. Gleaning pieces of information from other bird watchers and often with social distancing in mind, sharing views of the family from powerful telescopes.

One day we arrived and there were only two young on the nest. The regular onlookers advised that one fledgling had indeed fledged and had tested out their wings and strayed to an embankment a little further away from its siblings. Here mum had relocated to a high perch on a tree to keep a watchful eye on the less adventurous pair and the brave singleton. We heard a distinctive cry and it was dad warning of his return with his cache of food in his claws, only to drop the treats just before he reached his destination. We discovered this was all part of the exercise of weaning the youngsters off the nest to test out their wings.

Twice this happened to no avail, the youngsters stayed in the security of their comfortable nest, only venturing out a short distance to stretch their legs and wings. Having this small view of nature, made us realise that we had been missing out on a host of activities taking place virtually before our eyes. We never had the time or just had not taken time to realise the miracles of small activities that are happening every day on our doorsteps.

This page was added on 26/09/2020.

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