Saturday, 9 October 2010

Sky Wars

Today started off similarly to yesterday with quite thick mist enveloping the village. It was, if anything, a little less dense and I ventured up to the monument to see if the weekend team of Bockhill birders had assembled and were out and about finding lots of goodies. Unlike yesterday the weather defied the forecast of Michael Fish and the low clouds failed to lift all day. The only evidence of sunshine I got was the view of a very small bright patch on the sea, way out, where a tiny break in the cloud had allowed a few sun rays to reflect on the water.

As Simon Warry and me made our way down the cliff path we were treated to an aerial battle of premiership status. The first warning of the overhead warfare was a cacophony of sound as two Peregrines replied loudly to the honking of two Ravens. The Peregrines were undoubtedly less than enamoured with the presence of these large Crows in their domain.

Everything happened so quickly that I didn't really manage to get any decent photographs of the closest skirmishes, but only got a few of them as the continued their discussion along the cliff top towards Hope Point. At one time this Peregrine hurtled through the air at it's much larger adversary.

As the Peregrines came close to the Ravens they displayed their supreme flying skills by rolling over and presenting their claws towards their attackers. The quartet disappeared into the mist, so we never saw the outcome of the fight.

Simon demonstrated that his eyes are still pretty sharp by noticing this spider as we walked along. I looked it up in my Collins filed guide to spiders when I got home and discovered it goes by the name Araneus quadratus. As far as I know it was a new species for me and I though that it might be unusual, but the field guide says it is common and widespread, which shows how little I know about spiders.

Along the cliff top there a few Goldcrests calling in the bushes. Each autumn we get varying numbers of this tiny visitor or the continent. The migrants supplement our resident birds and in some years they can be very numerous. I still find it amazing that a bird that normally weighs less than 7 grams can make it across the channel.

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