It was a dull overcast day with a hint of rain in the air. I was standing on the side of the hill that morphs from Lightwood onto Combe Moss and looking back at the old reservoir site, now a wonderful haven for wildlife.
A male kestrel climbed into the sky and after a brief look around for a decent spot, settled down to hover above the heather and gorse. Occasionally it would dive ground-wards only to pull back and shift position ever so slightly. To maintain its position it has to work hard. Flapping its wings and adjusting the angle of its body and tail to counter the wind must take tremendous effort both of physical strength and concentration and at the same time it is searching and scanning the ground for the slightest movement that might signify prey.
While the kestrel hunted on the hillside, a Raven flying high and fast headed toward the fields where a couple of pairs of curlew were trying to raise their young. The curlews are ready for him though and one of the adults took to the sky calling and drawing the Raven away towards the grouse moor of Combe Moss.
The Kestrel meanwhile had locked onto something and with wings folded back he swooped and dived into the heather. He stayed there, so a successful hunt I guess.
Meanwhile the curlew having seen off the Raven had returned to its young, and resumed its parental responsibilities. But Lightwood had more drama to offer, and a buzzard rose slowly into the sky and then rather than soaring on the thermals it adopted a kestrel like hover.
Except of course its techniques was different. It hung there with little movement merely adjusting its wings and tail feathers to manage the wind while it scanned the ground for a meal.
To much drama for one morning, and I had been neglecting Lilly the Collie, who all the time I had been glued to my binoculars, had been guarding her ball close by, waiting for me to throw it for her. I reached down and picked it up and lob it along the path for her and she was off in a flash, oblivious to everything else.
I turned back for one last look. The buzzard had disappeared, while the Kestrel was back hovering, working hard to hold station. It was raining now, time to head for home.