This morning Drink House Lane was twitching with lots of garden birds. Two mistlethrushes clackered - ready to guard their bursting hawthorn lane. House sparrows whirred-as-one from hedge-to-field-to-hedge-and-back every time a jogger passed. The only stillness in the field was a lone grey partridge (a rarity round here) trusting its camouflage.
Robin calls were piercing the thin mist and peeling it back so by the time I'd reached Croston Finney the sky was powder blue. 60+ lapwings broadly flapping to my right, a grey heron's lollopping flight to my left and then-
A merlin chases two tiny birds, finds itself mobbed by three crows and then, seizing their advantage, the two tiny birds fly down on it and mob it too! What a sight chipping in! The five of them forcing the merlin down.
And later as I tread a tractor path - the merlin four feet from me - glides elegant and low, less that two feet above the stubble. Scanning the field's length to flush more-nervous creatures out.
And on towards Croston Moss where four red-legged partridges stand motionless, heads thrust high, peeping over the stubble as a flock a goldfinch jingle by.
Then homeward bound to rescue a rosemary leg of lamb, roast parsnips and spuds from the oven. Mmmmmmmmm.
photos of grey partridge and merlin copied from http://www.rspb.org.uk