Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Somewhere in Southern England...

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, cloudy, sw5 - First Peppered Moth of the season last night, a species I don't get very often, and a favourite of geneticists as melanistic forms have evolved in industrial areas ,`up north`. Elephant Hawk also new for the year last night, and yet another Looper.
Somewhere in Southern England... After a long drive across the southern lands, blind-folded and sworn to secrecy by an accomplice, we arrived at a stakeout for the Bee-hawk. As a scuddy wind piled up rain clouds it didn`t look promising, but after an hour the sun broke through, the temperature  rose and up came our quarry - a single distant, pigeon-headed, pinch-winged, long-tailed bird of prey with a distinctive flat-winged, soaring profile. Up and up it went and then in dramatic fashion the wings were raised like a `clapping` Nightjar - and he `sky-danced` several times. A breathtaking sight I`ve been privileged to witness many times before, but as thrilling today as my first in the New Forest over 40 years ago. An hour later he thermalled into the ether, but we didnt see him `dance` again. Truly, one of the great events in the birding calendar. My accomplice relented with the blind-fold on the long, return journey (taken by a different route to confuse me) and kept up a string of eye-watering jokes just in case I recognised the way. 

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