June 16, 2014
OK, so here’s something I never thought I’d ever say: it was just too lovely and sunny this afternoon. And not because I was stuck indoors – I had to head off on the bike. To the papershop. Through Buzzard Alley. And that was the problem. Having lost my magical tweed hat earlier in the year, my only remaining anti-buzzard head protection that it’s practical to cycle in was the hood of the apocalypse proof jacket and breathable as it is, I didn’t fancy wearing it on a gloriously warm sunny afternoon.
That left me with a choice of braving the buzzard bare headed – or cycling in my Akubra hat, which I did, as fortunately there wasn’t too much of a breeze. It means you either have to keep your pace slow or your head down to avoid it flying off – but it does seem to offer sterling buzzard protection as I wasn’t so much as buzzed in either direction. Clearly the general air of readiness to wrestle wildlife to the ground it gives the wearer was sufficient to keep my nemesis at bay. Long may that last. Although I suspect that it’s more likely that it will simply start raining again as usual.
September 7, 2012
‘That buzzard of yours has been causing trouble again,’ papershop woman announced when I walked into the shop the other day. Apparently, it’s taken to feasting on local bird tables – not bird food, but little birdies as food. I checked that it wasn’t actually a sparrowhawk, but apparently not – the owner of the birdtable in question had surrounded it with wire to keep the sparrowhawks at bay but the buzzard just came along and swiped her puny defences aside with its talon. This switch in diet may explain why it didn’t swoop on us last time we went past – daringly bareheaded – even though it was lurking menacingly on its usual telegraph* pole.
I did try to explain that it wasn’t my buzzard – any more than the cyclists who regularly annoy drivers around here are my cyclists – but my protestations fell on deaf ears. And besides I have been bullied/flattered/strong-armed into putting my name down for the local community council for the parish. I’m not entirely sure what its powers are likely to be – I suspect the square root of bugger all – but I’ve no doubt that if elected (not that it usually comes down to an election around here; even getting enough people to stand is an achievement) – then we will be squarely blamed for everything that goes wrong all the same, and that will include delinquent birdlife.
* see earlier comments regarding telegraph wires.
July 24, 2012
Are we bored of the buzzard yet? I know I am, and yet this morning – despite it being a typical summer day* – I set off hatless again. I thought about going back but by the time I had realised my mistake I was a mile or so down the road. Ah well, I thought. It’s starting to rain and the buzzard won’t fly in the rain. And I’ll keep my speed steady so I don’t look like prey and it won’t attack. And besides, it’s only a bird, it won’t be that…
…frightening. Wrong on all counts.
Coming back, I discovered that the hood on my everything-bar-the-apocalypse jacket was also effective against buzzards. Which just adds to my impression that when I bought it it was the best how much?! I ever spent.
I was going to end this post with a picture of a buzzard’s-eye view of the back of my head so you can see for yourselves whether it does or does not resemble a squashed rabbit but it turns out to be surprisingly difficult to photograph the back of your own head and the other half is out, so you will just have to imagine it.
* threatening drizzle. The Jet Stream has clearly returned to its normal activity of dumping half the contents of the Irish Sea onto our heads. Readers in the South can keep their moans about it being too hot to themselves, thanks. I get enough of it on Twitter…
October 18, 2008
Well, well, well, you learn something new every day. As I was riding down to the garage this morning for the paper just for a change, a long thin scuttling beastie crossed my path. I assumed it was a weasel just because I’ve always called those little scurrying things weasels, stoats seeming somewhat out of my league. But having looked it up on t’internet, it turns out that the black tip to the tail – plus the fact that it was big enough for me to think it was a squirrel at first glance – marks it out as a stoat. A nice addition to my list of positively identified wildlife I’ve seen from my bike. Not only that but a kestrel took the chance to show itself off in a sudden patch of sunshine, gliding and darting through a field of indifferent sheep. Throw in a wren, darting across at ankle-height on furiously flapping stubby little wings, and the top of a telegraph pole that suddenly transformed itself into a buzzard and flew heavily away, and the fact that I came back with a paper at all seems like a bonus, rather than the whole point of the ride. (The roadkill total was also enhanced to the tune of one dead badger, but let’s not dwell on that one).
*Whereas a stoat is stotally different