Walking along Cathcart Hill, the other evening, a wren popped out ahead of me on the pavement. At least, I'm fairly sure it was a wren - judged by its diminutive size and jaunty tail. You can get some sense of what it looked like from the photo adjoining.
It promptly hopped off into the hedgerow - with me and my very ordinary camera in pursuit.
It turned out that the wren was so intent on gorging itself on a colony of flying ants that it was largely unconcerned by my presence. So I was able to take the photo on the left - the nearest I have ever got to one of these enchanting birds, and about the best I have ever taken close-up.
I hope someone can confirm that this is indeed a wren.
While talking about birds, I have been amazed during recent road journeys to and from Oxford by the number of birds of prey above the M40 between High Wycombe and Oxford. One day, there was group of six or eight gliding and soaring. I assumed they were buzzards. I was wrong. A web search has revealed that they are red kites - wonderfully elegant birds, and while common above this stretch of the M40 they are otherwise quite rare.
You can tell the two apart by their tails - kites have forked tails while buzzard have fan-style tails. I saw thirteen birds of prey on the drive back from Oxford this evening - of those for which an identification could be made, red kites outnumbered buzzards by three-to-one.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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