Friday, May 02, 2008

Life and Death in the Goyt

High above a buzzard flaps slowly and effortlessly above the moor. Suddenly from nowhere a curlew appears. It is smaller than the Buzzard, but I guess it has eggs near by, possibly chicks and its unhappy at the presence of the Buzzard. It escorts it away from the area, diving at it every so often, not to hit it, but just to encourage it to “push off”. The Buzzard continues on its way, unperturbed and disinterested in the attention, and satisfied that it no longer poses a threat, the Curlew peels off and returns to its nest.

Over the crest of the hill the Short-Eared Owl that we saw ten minutes previously re appears. It is no longer hunting but flying purposefully back across the valley. Through the binoculars I see that it is clutching a small furry creature. I ask Mrs BW if she wants to have a look, but she declines saying that she can get a better idea about how graceful and elegant it is with the naked eye.

A brown hare breaks cover and with slow lolloping strides reaches the safety of the undergrowth, pausing once or twice to look back at these strange intruders. As we enter the small wood, I leave the track to answer a call of nature. There in front of me hanging from a branch are the remains of a rabbit, eviscerated; it has obviously been dead for some time. The wood is strangely silent. It is dark, many of the trees lean at weird angles, and there is an uncomfortable lifeless feel to it. Back on the path and into the sunlight I catch Mrs BW up as a jay dashes from one patch of wood to another, a flash of pink and white.

We stop and sit for a while on the bench that overlooks the reservoir. There is no wind and the late evening sun feels warm. All appears to be peaceful in the Goyt. Appearances are deceptive.

8 comments:

fiwa said...

The darker side of nature. I turn off the nature shows on t.v. about the time that the whale is going in for the kill on the poor seal. I just don't want to see it. Speaking of, I saw a whole gaggle? herd? school? of otters as I was driving along the ocean one night last week. We turned the car around so I could go back and see them again, and some IGNORAMUS was standing on the shore throwing rocks into the water where they had been swimming. I wanted to get out and kick his ass, but Clarke would not stop the car for me.

This has been a bright and sunshiny comment, hasn't it?! We've been wondering where you were, Reg sent out an APB for you on his blog.

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Nature, red in tooth and claw", as, errr, Tennyson, I think, once said.

We see a fair number of jays dashing about here as well. But the other day I saw one that I thought looked more pinky-orange than usual - could have been a hoopoe (with its crest down), it's possible.

The Birdwatcher said...

Fiwa - thanks for checking up on me, I had just gone walkabout for a bit. Pressure of work etc. Not sure what you would call a load of otters together, but what a great thing to see.

Gadjo - Good old T. Could well of been a Hoopoe, never seen one myself though.

Reg Pither said...

Where the bloody Hell have you been? Malc and I were just about to organise a search party!! See me afterwards.
Lovely, atmospheric post, by the way. On a similar theme, I was alarmed by what I can only describe as screaming coming from a giant shrub in my garden yesterday. I ran out to see a pair of nesting blackbirds making the row as a magpie made off with one of their chicks from their nest. Bastard! Nature can be messy.

The Birdwatcher said...

Reg - work is a bit shitty at the moment, there is a lot of it and its all problems and things. Suffering from Mr Mcawbers syndrome expenditure exceeding income result misery.

Malc said...

Terrific post. Great way to get back in the saddle - if that's the right word for blogging.

KAZ said...

I was in the Goyt valley today.
We heard the call and looked up and there was a curlew.
I thought 'Goyt' 'Curlew'..Isn't there a blog?
It was wonderful up there today.

The Birdwatcher said...

Malc - thanks, saddle will do as I have had the bike out a few times over the past few days so I am doing a passable John Wayne impression.

Kaz - Greetings. I have just got back. It was glorious up there. Sat on the bench that overlooks the upper resevoir and watched a Great Crested Grebe diving for fish. Marvelous.