I know I said that you wouldn’t get any of that flying rubbish from me and that we were going to be down to earth from now on. Well, here’s the first of the exceptions that prove that rule. You see, it was such a nice day – sometime in the middle of the week, I think – and he and I decided, when we came to the level crossing, that we might as well go all the way round. All the way round is about three miles – and between my interests and his we can usually stretch it to a bit more than an hour.
Up the hill we went then, as we came down to the bottom of the other side, we could hear a couple of those silly Buzzards whining and mewing up in the air. Really, would I expect to catch anything if I spent my time barking? We did however, stop to watch them flying round high up in the air. The verge is actually quite broad at this point so I took advantage of his preoccupation to do a little investigating of my own.
The Buzzards swooped and soared, then, with nothing better to do, one of them floated over and sat on a fence post. We walked a little further, keeping an eye on him. Just as we found a place with a clear view, the bird drifted off the post and with no overt enthusiasm landed in the field. This was not a swoop and absolutely nothing like a pounce – more of a flop I’d say.
Then he just sat there – trying to look as if he didn’t mean to catch anything anyway.
A word about Buzzards, in particular ‘our’ Buzzards. There are around a half a dozen of them and they hang around The Rookery. In spite of their size, they are wimpy birds and allow themselves to be bullied by the Crows, who are not quite as big. The Rooks often gang up on the Buzzards and will chase them away at every opportunity.
At one time, I wondered if the area that includes The Rookery, was large enough to support six or seven Buzzards but I have realised that there are two mitigating factors.
First must be: For several months of the year it is necessary to drive with great care along the local lanes as they become inundated with Pheasants. I can’t imagine that the Buzzards haven’t noticed this. I should think any number of the silly birds find it quite simple to run into a car – and the Buzzards are good at tidying up road kill.
Second, and more interestingly: The Buzzards hunt as a pack. I have watched as a couple of them, mewing piteously, flap clumsily round the edge of the copse that contains The Rookery. They are immediately set upon by all The Rookery’s occupants so they pull their heads in and flap off – being careful not to outdistance their harassers. Once the decoys are a decent distance away – the raiding party swoops in.
I’m not much of an “if only I’d . . . ” or even a “What a pity I didn’t . . . ” sort of person. I have this theory, or life image, or concept of the way the Universe works – whichever is the current phrase – about how much control over our own existence each of us has. Perhaps my theory isn’t anything to do with determinism and free will – kismet and all that, perhaps it is actually a theory of time.
Anyway, this seems a good place to whitter on a bit about How Life Works. You see it’s like this. The relationship time has with humanity doesn’t run in a straight line, nor is it a straightforward sequence of events. Each of us stands in the middle of a gigantic spider’s web of possible futures. Important point here: Radiating from everyone’s NOW are a multitude of possible futures – no pasts. The past is something that humans invented, because we need to learn from experience. It is a mental construct, nothing more.
This is important, because at every step, down whichever of the futures you choose to proceed – you will be standing at the centre of a gigantic spider’s web of possible futures.
The Dog, whose grasp of philosophy is profound, barked at the window. Going over to see what was causing the excitement I found a buzzard sitting on the ridge of the barn roof, not ten yards away. I ran for the camera. Carefully, I poked the camera round the curtain, trying to remain out of view. As I pressed the shutter release – he took off.
If you go up the road, past the turn that takes you across the level crossing, the remains of an old wood rise up the hill on your left. Long before you arrive in the immediate vicinity, you can tell that the old trees near the top of the wood are the chosen site for the rookery. How anyone gets any sleep there is beyond me. They make such a noise. Continuously.
The buzzards are obviously irritated by all this cacophony and have decided to resolve the issue by eating their way through the whole colony. This is a major task but they feel they are up to it, moreover they feel that this is their true calling and their mission in life. Not only is the noise hard to live with but the rooks have an annoying habit of following the buzzards around and trying to take over any decent bits of road kill they find. So the buzzards’ campaign is aimed at killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.
There always seems to be two or three buzzards just drifting around above the rookery. This agitates the rooks, who suspect that there is more to their presence than local neighbourhood watch duties. Every now and then one of the rooks gets fed up with constantly looking over their shoulder and will rush out from the rookery waving their arms and shouting “Clear! Off!”.