And the Rain it Raineth Somewhere Else

For anyone who has ever thought that ‘this blog is all right, but it really doesn’t ramble on about the joys of rural cycling in Scotland anything like enough’, all two of you, I am on the CamCycle Podcast doing just that.

I have no idea what I said because I just chatted away happily as I am wont to do, and there’s no way I’m listening to my own voice to found out, but I do remember that the opening question was about what I’d seen on my bike that week. The recording was made a couple of weeks ago and I undoubtedly rambled on about blackberries and exciting drainage works, those being pretty much the highlight of the week at the time.

I was reminded of all this today, as I cycled home from Bigtown and found myself riding in the wake of what I’m pretty sure was a merlin, using the hedge as cover as it flew along the road for a couple of hundred yards, before hopping over a hedge and disappearing from view. I can report that, while not as speedy as a peregrine, they can certainly outpace me on a bike, and it was definitely the highlight of my ride home, indeed my week.

Naturally, I didn’t capture any of this because I was barely able to keep the bird in sight, let alone get a photo of it. So you’ll just have to enjoy the equally rare image of the rain raining on someone other than me as I rode into Bigtown at lunchtime …

rain raining somewhere else

Unusually, the weather gods didn’t manage to catch up with me all day


3 Responses to And the Rain it Raineth Somewhere Else

  1. Charles says:

    Perhaps the best way of telling the difference is by behaviour. Whereas Merlins hunt by chasing down small birds in the open, Sparrowhawks hunt by ambush – they use cover to approach a small flock and then dash in and grab. They like to hunt where there is something to hide behind – this could be trees, buildings or a hedge. A favourite strategy is hedge-hopping – they fly along one side of a hedge then flip over the top to see what they can grab. So if you are driving along a Pembrokeshire lane and find yourself following a small grey or brown bird of prey it will undoubtedly be a Sparrowhawk, just cruising along and waiting for a suitable moment to flash up and over the hedge.

    I cannot tell the difference myself unless the bird in question is sitting still and being well behaved, but I suspect you may be a better bird washer than me Gunga Din.

  2. Charles says:

    Even bird watcher, predictive text and blood pressure….

  3. disgruntled says:

    Yeah, I didn’t get the impression it was a sparrowhawk, it looked less chunky than that, but it was flying away from me at some speed, despite my determined pedalling. Either way, it was pretty cool

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