March Madness

A bit of sun has brought out the butterflies on our usual circuit of Cissbury Ring and the Monarch’s Way, as well as our first Bee Flies of the year, including a cooperative one at home.  We also had a total of 11 Wheatears, although none came close enough for a worthwhile photo.  Best of all was a field with five Hares in, three of which were spooked by the farmer moving some sheep and ran right past us.  Once they had got further away from us they settled down and did a little bit of boxing, although too far away for any photographs.

Raptor persecution

It’s got to stop!  I’m not on about the landowners, estate managers and gamekeepers who think that breaking the law is OK to improve their profits when it’s just as corrupt as bribery and other forms of malpractice that are taken more seriously by the courts.  That needs to stop too, but I’m on about persecution of me by raptors.

First there is the Hen Harrier that has spent the last two winters just over the Down from me, an area where walk often.  Everyone else has seen it, but have I?  Of course not.  Now it’s spreading: a long walk last week had none of the released White-tailed Eagles that have been seen by everyone.  A return visit yesterday as part of a 30 mile walk did have a Hen Harrier (not the bird), but, having sat for a while and watched the area, a White-tailed Eagle  drifted across literally 4 minutes after we turned our backs and left.  Thanks heavens it’s only a plastic bird.

Couldn’t hit a barn at this distance…

A 16 mile walk at speed on Friday meant that I wasn’t carrying my camera (or seeing any birds).  A lazy day on Saturday meant there were no photographs either, and a 21 mile walk to Shoreham and up the Adur and back over the Downs meant that I was carrying my small and not very impressive camera.  It was a glorious day and successful bird-wise (apart from the blasted Rock Pipit at Shoreham Fort), but all the birds were too far away, so there was no need for the camera.  Until we got to about a mile and a half from home, when our local Barn Owl turned up, sitting on a fence post ahead of us.  We hardly ever see this bird in daylight, and it wasn’t bothered by being seen, allowing us to sneak up on it a bit, and then flew to a closer post to check us out.  Eventually it decided to go hunting, but still allowed fantastic views.  What a shame this never happens when I have my good camera with me.  Ah well, the shots I got will have to do.