My son and I went to RSPB Old Moor on Tuesday, this week. We had planned to check out the red deer rut at Studley Royal but the weather forecast was for dark cloud so we opted for a shorter journey to a reserve which I haven’t visited for some time. To say it was quiet would be an understatement, but I did manage to grab a nice wren singing its heart out. A marsh harrier and a couple of buzzards way off seemed to be the only hint of something a bit out of the ordinary.
We entered the bittern hide and the result was little different so we stayed only a short time. However, when sauntering down the boardwalk from the hide, we were brought to a sudden halt by the sight of a beautiful kestrel which had recently caught a small bird, possibly a long tailed tit, and had landed on a wooden sculpture right next to the footpath. The raptor was so engrossed with its kill that our presence left him unfazed. We were able to shoot the whole meal as the kestrel plucked the smaller bird clean, leaving feathers floating in the air. The meal finished, he checked for crumbs and carefully wiped his bill clean on the woodwork, rather like a highly satisfied diner taking up his napkin.
A singing wren and feeding kestrel made the trip very worthwhile. The kestrel sighting may have been a stroke of luck but as my son said at the time, if you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t go to the ball. A lesson to get out there and see what happens!