Low Flying

Afternoon light through the trees

There was a gap between weather warnings again today, as the rain cleared and the wind dropped and I nipped up to the garden to take advantage of the lull. The photo looks peaceful, but what you can’t hear are the fighter planes that were carving up the sky – impossible to capture in a photo because they’re so fast and they’re never quite where you think they’re going to be from the sound. We’re used to them using our relatively empty corner of the world for training flights, but it reminded me of the debate going on in Parliament as I write; no escape even here from the drumbeat of war.

Coming out of the gate with the wheelbarrow for another load of muck, I was lucky enough to glimpse another low-flying engine of death: a sparrowhack flashing past barely at knee height, intent on the hunt. Seen close to like that, in flight, it’s a brutal and powerful-looking bird and everything in the woods falls silent at its approach. Everything except our own death-dealing flying machines.

Does it make me a terrorist sympathiser to wish that we could not go to war?

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7 Responses to Low Flying

  1. Stephen says:

    I have mixed feelings about sparrowhawks: on the one hand, they eat the birds I feed in the garden; on the other hand they’re pretty awesome.

  2. Sparrowhawks welcome here, we have no ethnic cleansing of bird species at our bird table. One did a full 360 degree turn around the rowan tree yesterday as the little birds fled in all directions, before nonchalantly landing on the gate. I’ve had alarming experience of the planes in your part of the world. https://uphilldowndale.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/objects-in-mirror-are-closer-than-they-appear/

  3. Charles says:

    I once had two tornados cross over my head as the fly past each other, they cannot have been more than 200 feet up, it was on the isle of Skye and I as fishing at the time. I practically had a heart attack.

    Not sure at all about more bombs in Middle East. I would favour looking at the boring things like finance as all those guns do not come cheap and so either all their sworn enemies are turning a blind eye to their oil exports, some of our friends are covertly funding them at arms length and we do not know who our friends are in the region. Prudent long term thought and dispassionate analysis have been sacrificed on the altar of expediency and I dear the cost is not going to be cheap.

    Thank goodness I have now retired and moved to Somerset where I have just cracked the glass on the wood burning stove! Disgrace awaits.

    Sparrow Hawks were rare birds in London, or my part anyway, but I like the idea of something that small with so much attitude and it is not even French.

  4. disgruntled says:

    @Stephen – we call bird tables ‘sparrowhawk feeders’ here https://cityexile.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/well-that-solves-the-woodpecker-problem-anyway/
    @UHDD – yes, the Hercules fly very low round here, I’m never certain they’re going to clear the treetops but they always do. I think they’re much bigger than they look which is why they appear so low
    @Charles – glad you’ve made the move at last.

  5. Lisa says:

    Such a perfect weather to go outside, to ride, to walk or to just soak it in. Perfect albeit the low-flying birds of prey!

  6. Autolycus says:

    When I was walking the picturesque central bit of Hadrian’s Wall, some sort of RAF plane emerged from a valley and flew straight towards me, so low that I could see the pilot’s face. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try to get a photo of the plane and the Wall, which would have been symbolical of something or other. Possibly. But it was quite a moment.

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