You only know you miss things when they are not there. ‘You
don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,’ sang Joni Mitchell. I have taken it
for granted that the kestrel will be there on the wires staring over Oak Meadow
and our field called Goose Bottom. But it seems, that every night when I look
out, there is no kestrel. Sometimes I thought I saw one in the dim evening
light, but it was often a pigeon instead. I have felt so sad.
Then last night I saw it on the electricity cables over
Goose Bottom. It was hunched with its russet wings catching the evening sun. It
was the male with a grey head. Our field is full of voles and that is his
favourite food. I was so pleased to see him but was very surprised when I also saw
the brown female fly up to him with large, pointed wings silhouetted against
the darkening sky. She circled him and called out and then they both left
together. I wonder where they are nesting, not in our kestrel box for sure
because a squirrel took that over early in the year.
A week ago, we went to see two friends who have fields like
us and again I was treated to something I have not seen for years, it is so
long ago that I have forgotten all about them. We settled down in their
conservatory with tea and home-made cake. He was telling us all his news. I was
absorbed in the conversation but suddenly Mr T said, “Sorry to interrupt but
look out of the window.” We turned to look and there were two hares standing on
their hind legs boxing each other in earnest. It is the females who start the
boxing to get rid of the males if they are not ready for them or, I suppose, if
they fancy another male.
Fur was flying as we stared in disbelief. Sam was used to them and he said that they are always in his fields and sometimes come into the garden to nibble under his bird table. As soon as I went near the window, they ran off zigzagging over the grass. We have rabbits in our fields and offered to swap, but Sam was having none of it. Hares do not dig burrows like rabbits, they have their young in hollows in undergrowth so do not make the ground uneven and unsightly.
The seeding hemlock on our roadside looks unsightly too. It
seems like only last week that its lace-like beauty ribboned down the lane. Now
the cutters are out clearing our country verges.
It is hard to find the roadside post box