Yesterday morning saw me surveying another plot of recently planted woodland in south Cumbria and funnily enough it wasn't forecast to rain then either, but I had frequent showers. They were light, however, and didn't affect the outcome of the survey.
I had nothing amazing, but it was just good to be back out again. The bits and pieces that I feel are worthy to jump from my notebook to this blog include a Raven, a Whitethroat, two Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, two Buzzards, a Blackcap and a Tree Sparrow.
I hope that you all will forgive me when I admit that I have just discovered the superb Scottish nature writer Jim Crumley after he has written thirty plus books! I am currently reading 'The Nature of Autumn' and I can't tell you how good it is, and how he paints the landscape and the beasties within, with words. He even manages to out 'Robert Macfarlane' Robert Macfarlane, which just blows me away as he is my favourite naturalist/landscape writer!
As a taster here are a few words from Jim describing an encounter with a male Hen Harrier from his car as he climbs the road from Kylerhea on Skye through Glen Arroch (it helps to be able to picture a male Hen Harrier in your mind's eye).
"Halfway up, a male Hen Harrier flashed across my bows, a poem in silver-grey and black...It's shadow-into-sunlight starburst was the most distant of echoes of the Green Woodpecker in far-off Glen Finglas". He then goes on to describe the Harriers hunting flight action..."slow as thistledown and one-yard high, searching for vole tremors or a passing cloud of finches on the move. Then with that streamlined absence of fuss that is the badge of all its tribe, it might soar fifty feet, bank and turn in its own length and tilt the whole mighty seaboard of the West Highlands through forty-five degrees in the process".
Crumley, J (2016) The Nature of Autumn Saraband, Glasgow
Now that's how you describe a Hen Harrier!