We’ve loved hearing the stories you’ve been sending to us after reading the article in Nature’s Home by Simon Barnes about tuning into nature. It really can be a wonderful way to notice nature moments happening around you when you least expect it. We couldn’t share them all in Nature's Home but here’s a few more marvellous moments with nature!
Mistaking a peregrine and pigeon race for an RAF jet in Snowdonia
As a kid, I joined the Young Ornithologists Club (the then RSPB club for young people) and each weekend would go birdwatching. I did this until I was in my mid-teens because, let's face it, there was no daytime TV or computer games back in the early 1970s. But I have to say my encounters with birds since then have been far more interesting than all my birdwatching expeditions. Perhaps I've just been lucky because I have to say I've been blessed with some memorable moments.
As a student geologist I was doing some mapping in Snowdonia on Moel Siabod. Crouching down at a rock outcrop I heard a noise of rushing wind getting louder and louder. Expecting it to be another low-flying jet trainer from RAF Valley I stood up to have a look, whereupon a pigeon shot a few feet over my head going like the clappers and a peregrine breaking off its dive and zooming back into the sky before circling and flying off. The encounter lasted about one or two seconds. Inadvertently I had saved one lucky pigeon.
Peregrine by Katie Nethercoat (rspb-images.com)
Aerial acrobatics by a spotted flycatcher from the office window
I spent my days at work in an office in Tunbridge Wells. Thankfully, this particular office was a converted house with an incredible garden. When I spotted my first spotted flycatcher doing aerial acrobatics to catch insects, I was over the moon. Imagine my excitement to discover the flycatcher nesting outside my boss’s window! Watching the babies grow and leave the nest made for a very special year in my life of encounters with birds.
As Simon Barnes said, ‘Awake! Listen! Love’ indeed!
Spotted flycatcher by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Battle of Britain: Sparrowhawk vs pigeon
I was walking towards Norbury Park in the Surrey Hills with my camera and binoculars in my backpack under the assumption that I wouldn’t see anything photo-worthy on the suburban roads that lead to the park. Big mistake!
Two pigeon-sized birds flashed across the road in front of me at eye level. It took me a moment to realise a feral pigeon was being pursued by a female sparrowhawk. The sparrowhawk caught the pigeon and had it under control on the road surface. This happened a few meters in front of me and I knew if I made a move to get my camera out, I would possibly scare the sparrowhawk.
I slowly attempted to get my mobile phone out o to film the scene, but as I did so the pigeon escaped the clutches of the sparrowhawk and flew directly at me. For a split second I wasn’t sure what to do and froze in position. The pigeon flew past my right arm arrow-straight.
The pigeon didn’t appear to be hurt and I was marvelling at his getaway when the sparrowhawk flew in pursuit a meter or two behind. I saw this drama unfolding behind me with the pigeon trying desperately to flee the clutches of the sparrowhawk by flying up and then down, like a scene from the Battle of Britain. The pair then went over a hedge, where to the best of my knowledge the prey was caught. How do I know this? The cacophony of noise coming from onlooking magpies and jackdaws suggested to me that the sparrowhawk was successful.
What struck me were the contrasting emotions that I went through during this encounter. . Exhilaration at having witnessed the pursuit. Desperation in the pigeons attempts to escape. Uneasiness at the brutality of the natural world. Plus disappointment that I didn't have my camera out. But as Simon Barnes said: ‘Birds can turn up anywhere and you have to be ready.' Lesson learned!
Sparrowhawk by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
Spotting common lizards while inspecting a bug hotel
A couple of years ago my wife and I visited RSPB Arne and near the entrance to the nature reserve spotted an attractive-looking bug hotel. Walking over to inspect it we found little sign of any insect occupants but then caught sight of this pair of very replete and satisfied-looking common lizards apparently taking a post-prandial nap in the spring sunshine on one of the hotel's verandas. We realised this might be linked to the lack of visible bug life!
Common lizards by Peter White
Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it. fat loss pre workout
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654
Accepting all non-essential cookies helps us to personalise your experience
These cookies are required for basic web functions
Allow us to collect anonymised performance data
Allow us to personalise your experience