Thursday, 29 October 2009

Kestrel over a long barrow

West Kennet Long Barrow is my bolt hole; its the place my feet take me to when there isn't another plan. The walk from Avebury via Waden Hill and Silbury never fails to recharge my batteries whatever else may be going in 'life'. I always without fail encounter a bird or birds that somehow seem special to the occasion; once a wren flew out of the barrow, perching for a bit on one of the entrance stones. Summer brings skylarks, goldfinches and the swallows swooping over the river Kennet. Buzzards can often be seen hovering high in the sky over Waden Hill.

Visiting yesterday with a few friends, we had walked to the end of the barrow when we saw what we thought was a sparrowhawk hovering over the entrance of the barrow. One of our small group quickly named it the barrowhawk as apparently it makes a regular appearance. I have since been told it is a kestrel as sparrowhawks favour wooded areas whilst the kestrel always hunt over open farm or heathland. This kestrel seemed to track us as it moved from its position at the front of the barrow to where we were standing at other end. I had put my camera away and was reluctant spoil the moment of the kestrel hovering in the sunlight ... as you can see my photo doesn't do the moment justice. More and more I find nature is best observed fleetingly and captured in the mind's eye.
Note: Kestrels belong to the falcon family of birds.